September 19, 2014

"You Only Live Once" Teen Pedestrian Safety Program Launched

Officials attending the launch of the YOLO campaign included (left to right: 1st row: Councilmember Cherri Branson, School Board member Dr. Judith Docca, County Executive Ike Leggett, School Board V.P. Patricia O'Neill, Seneca Valley HS Principal Marc Cohen, mother of teen pedestrian victim Gwendolyn Ward, Council President Craig Rice and School Board member Rebecca Smondrowski. 2nd row: Transportation Director Art Holmes and Police Traffic Division Director Captain Tom Didone. 

The County has launched a new education program to reduce pedestrian crashes involving teens. Entitled YOLO (You Only Live Once), the campaign, developed by the Department of Transportation, includes a toolkit that will be distributed to every County high school to reduce students’ risks by reminding them not to walk while distracted.

The announcement was made by County Executive Ike Leggett, County Council President Craig Rice and Vice President Board of Education Vice President Patricia O’Neill at a news conference at Seneca Valley High School (SVHS) in Germantown. In October 2012, 15-year-old Christina Morris-Ward, a SVHS student, was struck and killed as she distractedly crossed the street on her way to school. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, about half of students ages 15 to 19 say they use a cell phone when walking to school.

Each year, more than 400 crashes involving pedestrians occur on Montgomery County roadways. Teens ages 15 through 19 make up half of all underage pedestrian fatalities. I According to Safe Kids Worldwide, one in five high school teens cross the street while distracted by electronics.

Get more information about the YOLO and Walk Your Way campaigns.

Read more about the press event announcement.

Leggett, Council Add 10% More Hours, Plus Staff, Materials to Libraries

 Local elected officials gathered at Rockville Memorial Library with community library advocates and Friends of the Library, Montgomery County representatives to announce the expanded hours, along with increased staff and added materials in the branches to support the extra hours. Pictured (from left): Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz; Council President Craig Rice; County Executive Ike Leggett; MCPL Director Parker Hamilton; Councilman Phil Andrews; Council Vice President George Leventhal; and Councilmembers Nancy Floreen, Roger Berliner and Nancy Navarro.  View photos from the event.

Beginning Sunday, October 5, Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) will be open longer, with added service hours totaling 106 hours, 9.4 percent more than in fiscal year 2014.

Sixteen branches will have expanded hours, joining the five branches whose hours were increased in FY13. The expanded hours at the Silver Spring branch will go into effect when the new library opens later in this fiscal year.

Four more branches will be open on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. bringing the total number with Sunday hours to 13.

In support of the expanded hours, a substantial increase in staff has been added -- 39 merit positions, plus additional substitute staff – bringing current staffing to its highest level since FY10.

To further enhance the system, funding for materials acquisition was increased for the current fiscal year by $500,000. This is the largest materials budget ($5,350,000) since FY10.

The increases were made possible by recommendations from County Executive Ike Leggett and the County Council totaling $800,000 in the FY15 Operating Budget in response to feedback from the community.

Hispanic Heritage Month Events in County and Area

Celebrated since 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during the period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12.

The observance recognizes the contributions to our communities and impact on our culture made by Hispanic and Latino Americans. It also provides an opportunity for residents of all backgrounds to participate in the celebrations and experience Hispanic food, art and entertainment.

See calendar listing of local events.

Recreation Expands Senior Services at Three Centers

The Department of Recreation has announced expanded hours and programs for seniors at three centers in various parts of the County.

Expanded services consist of: added evening hours (Wednesdays until 9 p.m.) at the Holiday Park Senior Center; extended programming at Margaret Schweinhaut Center from five to six days per week; and an increase of eight operational hours a week at the Damascus Senior Center.

In January, the Recreation Department launched the new Senior Center Shuttle transportation program that provides curb-to-curb service to and from the County’s five senior centers. The service offers a fixed route service free to adults 55 and older who live within a defined geographical radius of each center.

For more information about senior services or programs, call 240-777-4924 or visit the Recreation Department's website.

Burtonsville Day Celebration

A series of family-oriented events and activities for all ages will mark the 24th Burtonsville Day celebration.

The first event to be held is a movie at Cedar Ridge Community Church on Friday, September 26 at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, September 27 a parade along Old Columbia Pike will kick off the day-long event at 10 a.m., followed by the festival beginning at 10:30 around town at the Marilyn J. Praisner Center and the Library and Old Columbia Park.

There will be children’s activities, live musical entertainment, crafts, a health fair, sports, demonstrations, a library fair, a pet show and food vendors.

See latest information on the event.

Town Hall Meeting on Bullying in Schools

Montgomery County’s Office of Human Rights, the Committee on Hate/Violence and Montgomery College will co-host a town hall meeting about bullying in schools on Sunday, September 28, from 2 to 5 p.m., at the Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place.

Parents, students, educators, elected leaders and the community are invited to attend and share their thoughts on prevention and intervention strategies. The keynote speaker and discussion leader will be National Youth Advocate Johnnie Williams III.

Sign language interpreter services will be provided only upon request with notice as far in advance as possible, but no less than 72 hours prior to the event. If these or other services or aids are needed to participate, call 240-777-8450 or email

For more information, contact the Office of Human Rights at 240-777-8450.

Ready for Duty

Following 26 weeks of intensive training by recruits, Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service has graduated one of its largest classes on record. After completing one of the most thorough, challenging and rigorous programs in the country, the 69 recruits were officially sworn in. County Executive Ike Leggett (above left) and Fire Chief Steve Lohr  welcomed them to the departmental ranks and the around-the-clock job of protecting County residents. See more photos.

Council Vice President Honored with Medical Society's Distinguished Public Official Award

Montgomery County Council Vice President George Leventhal, chair of the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee, has received the 2014 Dr. Henry and Page Laughlin Montgomery County Medical Society Distinguished Public Official Award for his "commitment and dedication to enhancing access to health care for all Montgomery County residents.”

“I am honored to receive this award from such a vital and prestigious organization in Montgomery County,” Leventhal said. "However, I accept this award representing the many organizations, volunteers and members of the County Council who are dedicated to seeing that all residents of our County have access to quality healthcare. But our efforts can only go as far as getting people in need to the top quality physicians in our County, and in that regard, we are all partners in this mission.”

Tasty Treats at Trucktoberfest

Some of the District/Maryland/Virginia (DMV) Food Truck Association’s favorite food trucks will head to Wheaton on Saturday, September 27 to dish out the region’s tastiest treats at the Trucktoberfest food truck and craft beer festival. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Wheaton Triangle, Reedie Drive and Grandview Avenue.

The free festival features DMV food trucks; a craft beer garden hosted by a local restaurant, The Limerick Pub; live music on The Exchange Soundstage; and a kid's zone. Trucktoberfest is organized by the DMV Food Truck Association and the Wheaton Urban District.

Live musical entertainment includes the following bands: Kickoman, Flex Matthews, Trevor Martin, Magnetar Flares and the Very Small.

For more information about Wheaton and the Wheaton Urban District, visit

Free Public Forum on Infant Mortality

A free public forum on what is being done to reduce infant mortality in Montgomery County will be held on Monday, September 22 at the Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by the African American Health Program (AAHP), part of the County’s Department of Health and Human Services; Holy Cross Hospital and the AAHP’s Infant Mortality Collaborative.

The event will feature a panel discussion on preconception health, pregnancy support, breastfeeding and infant safety. "When the Bough Breaks," a film exploring the link between racism and poor health outcomes, will be shown, and information on County resources will be shared with attendees.

For more information, contact Pat Keating at 301-754-163 or email

Libraries, Schools, Ride On Partner to Sell Youth Cruiser SmarTrip Cards

Montgomery County’s Ride On bus system has made it easier for residents to purchase the Youth Cruiser SmarTrip® card for customers ages 18 years and younger. The card, which costs $2, can now be obtained at all 21 County Public Libraries and 20 of the County’s schools.

Ride On is working with both public and private schools in the County to add additional school purchase locations. Check for the current list of schools. Home-schooled students will also be eligible to purchase the card.

On July 1, the hours for Kids Ride Free were extended an additional hour in the evening, now from 2 to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. Kids Ride Free provides rides on Ride On buses (and most Metro buses within Montgomery County) to youth ages five through 18. By the end of the calendar year, Ride On will transition to using Youth Cruiser SmarTrip cards for identification instead of school ID cards.

Read news release for more details.

Grants for Watershed Restoration, Outreach Available via New Partnership

Montgomery County and the Chesapeake Bay Trust are offering a new grant program to support watershed restoration and outreach throughout the County. The goal of the Montgomery County Watershed Restoration and Outreach program is to reduce stormwater runoff and pollutants. This is done through community-based restoration, including RainScapes practices, as well as implementing projects focused on public involvement through education, outreach and stewardship.

Non-profit organizations, including local watershed groups, community associations, service and civic groups, and faith-based organizations, are eligible to apply for grants up to $50,000 (with larger awards possible with prior approval). All projects must take place in Montgomery County, outside the municipalities of Rockville, Gaithersburg and Takoma Park.

Funding is available for three types of efforts: public outreach and stewardship projects, community-based stormwater runoff and water quality improvement practices, and RainScapes Neighborhood projects.

Applications are due on December 4 by 5 p.m.

See more details in the news release.

Looking for Office Space? Try SOS

If you are a business owner looking for quick and easy work space with no strings attached, a professional address, phone services, a community of collaboration and/or a virtual office, the County's Shared Office Space (SOS) has you covered.

From sleek, modern co-working space to more traditional offices, there is a space for you.

Montgomery County boasts 16 shared office locations totaling nearly 250,000 square feet of real estate. The facilities range from 1,000 to 25,000 square feet and can accommodate anywhere from 12 to 300 people in one center. Altogether, the locations can accommodate around 2,500 people.

Check out information from the Department of Economic Development to find the space that fits your needs.

Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County to Honor Senator Forehand

The Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County (CRCMC) will honor Maryland State Senator Jennie M. Forehand as its 2014 Peacemaker of the Year in a ceremony on October 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. at VisArts of Rockville, 155 Gibbs St. County Executive Ike Leggett and his wife, Catherine, are the Honorary Co-Chairs for the third year.

The award was established by CRCMC to recognize people working to make local communities more peaceful. Past honorees have been Chief Judge Eugene Wolfe, Carol Trawick, Charles “Chuck” Short and Sally Rudney.

Senator Forehand is retiring at the end of the year after 20 years as a State Senator and 16 years as a Delegate. She is being recognized for her outstanding work in promoting peacemaking in Montgomery County and throughout the State of Maryland. Most recently, Senator Forehand was a sponsor of the Maryland Mediation Confidentiality Act which provides protection for individuals using mediation.

For ticket information, visit or call 301-652-0717.

Read more in the news release.

Work Ongoing on Fixes to Silver Spring Transit Center

See update to County Council on SSTC work.

The Fall Sports Scene at the Maryland SoccerPlex

The Fall sports season at the Maryland SoccerPlex is kicking into high gear, with youth, college and adult soccer, top flight AAU basketball and other special events.

In addition to the venue's continuing programs, such as the highly popular SAM soccer league and Maryland Flames AAU basketball, the SoccerPlex is now home to Montgomery College men's and women's soccer.

Read about upcoming schedule of events.

Sunday, October 19 -- World of Montgomery Festival.

Celebrate the rich cultural heritages of Montgomery County. Westfield Wheaton Plaza Mall parking lot (across from the Wheaton Metro station). Noon to 5 p.m. Sponsored by Montgomery County and Fund for Montgomery, organized by KID (Kids International Discovery) Museum. Free. A highly interactive experience where participants engage in creative projects from the diverse communities that make up some of the largest immigrant populations in the County. Exhibits include culturally authentic arts demonstrations and activities that promote international and multicultural awareness. Call 301-660-7418 or visit

Saturday, November 8 -- Annual Senior Spelling Bee.

Olney Library, 3500 Olney-Laytonsville Rd. 11 a.m. Sponsored by Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (FOLMC). Registration, at $25 per person, is open until November 3 for Montgomery County residents 55 years of age and older. Participants may seek sponsors to cover the fee. Sponsors will be acknowledged in program materials and at the event. Register at; or request an application by calling 240-777-0020 or email