November 13, 2014

Memorial Plaza Dedicated

In observance of Veterans Day, the new Memorial Plaza located on the Government Complex Center Terrace between the new Courthouse annex and the Executive Office Building in Rockville was officially dedicated and the eternal flame unveiled on November 10.

The ceremony was an opportunity for the County to show its appreciation and support for those people who put their lives on the line, domestically and abroad, to ensure our continued safety.

The plaza is part of the Judicial Center Annex construction project that began in 2011 and involved an addition to and renovation of the existing Judicial Center. The  annex is a six-story building with one level underground parking and one level mechanical penthouse.

The plaza and green spaces were redesigned to invite public use of the space. The area features a water fountain, new landscaping, bench. A Memorial Walkway will display the plaques that were relocated from the original Memorial Garden to allow for the construction of the annex.

View more photos from our flickr album.

Holiday Season Comes to the County with a Flair

The 2014 Holiday Season will kick off locally in colorful style on Saturday, November 22 in Silver Spring when the Annual Thanksgiving Parade steps off at 10 a.m. from Ellsworth Dr. and Fenton St. and proceeds south on Georgia Ave., ending at Silver Spring Ave. The parade will be held rain or shine.

The line-up of more than 100 parade units features the inflatable turkey, which is the Montgomery County parade logo, as well as a 12-foot inflatable Silver Spring penguin, a Teddy Bear toy float, and more drum lines and colorful dancing groups than ever.

For more information, call 240-777-6821 or visit or download flyer in pdf format.

One of the entertaining marching units that make the Thanksgiving Parade a fun event for all ages.
Photo by Ken Stanek.

Annual Leaf Collection Underway in Southern Part of County

The Department of Transportation’s Division of Highway Services (DHS) is conducting its annual vacuum collection of leaves in the southern part of the County now through mid-December

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.

Residents should look for signs posted along the streets for information. DHS crews are posting new, larger, more informative signs this season that will direct residents to DHS’s website for more information about collection dates.

Leaves should be placed in piles or containers on the grass or behind the curb, off the road pavement, but near the street. Placing leaves in streets or alleys can disrupt traffic, negatively impact drainage infrastructure, hamper snow removal operations, pose a risk of fire hazard for automobiles parked over them, limit the availability of residential parking and pose a safety risk to pedestrians of all ages.

The leaf collection program is restricted to leaves only. Tree debris, sticks, branches or coarse garden debris should be placed in containers or tied in bundles no more than four feet long and placed where yard trim is regularly picked up.

Residents who miss the two scheduled vacuum collections can still have their leaves collected by placing them in paper yard trim bags or reusable containers for pick up on their regular yard trim collection day. Leaves placed in plastic bags will not be accepted.

Open Enrollment for Health Insurance begins November 15; Residents with No Insurance Urged to Sign Up

Residents without health insurance coverage are urged to sign up through the Maryland Health Connection when open enrollment begins November 15.

Consumers can now go to and browse the site to compare prices and plans available during open season, as well as get an estimate of financial assistance that may be available to help pay for insurance premiums.

Residents who enrolled during the first year of open enrollment (October 15, 2013 to March 15, 2014) need to re-apply on Maryland’s new website by December 18 or risk losing any financial assistance they received to help pay the insurance premiums.

Health navigators, assisters and insurance brokers will be available to answer questions and help consumers browse the website and preview available health plans on Saturday, November 15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at three locations in Montgomery County:
  • UpCounty Regional Services Center, 12900 Middlebrook Rd., Germantown 
  • Piccard Drive Health Center, 1335 Piccard Dr., Rockville 
  • Silver Spring DHHS Services Center, 8818 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring 
Residents are also invited to attend free information sessions on the 15th about "The Importance of Health Coverage and Choosing A Health Plan." Sessions will be available in English, Spanish and Amharic:

  • 10 to 11 a.m.
  • 12900 Middlebrook Rd., Germantown (English) 
  • 1335 Piccard Dr., Rockville (Spanish) 
  • 8818 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring (Spanish) 

  • Noon to 1 p.m. 
  • 12900 Middlebrook Rd., Germantown (Spanish) 
  • 1335 Piccard Dr., Rockville (Spanish) 
  • 8818 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring (Spanish) 

  • 2 to 3 p.m. 
  • 12900 Middlebrook Rd., Germantown (English) 
  • 1335 Piccard Dr., Rockville (English) 
  • 8818 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring (Amharic) 

The Maryland Health Connection’s call center will open on Sunday, November 16 at 10 a.m. for residents to apply by telephone. Call toll free 855-642-8572 (TTY 855-642-8573).

Beginning Monday, November 17, in-person assistance will be available at more than 30 locations throughout Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

For details on sign up locations, go the Capital Health Connection website at or call 240-773-8250.

For additional information on eligibility guidelines and the documents needed to apply, go to

“Recipes for Success” Cooked Up for Restaurant Entrepreneurs

The County’s new “Recipes for Success” program is designed to help individuals planning to open a new restaurant or expand an existing restaurant navigate the County’s permitting and licensing process quickly and efficiently.

“Recipes for Success” includes a free, pre-design consultation at which representatives from all County agencies involved in restaurant approvals will be available to explain the requirements to open or expand a restaurant. Montgomery County’s Department of Permitting Services (DPS) is partnering with the departments of Economic Development, Liquor Control, Health and Human Services (HHS) and Fire and Rescue Service, as well as the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.

Every Tuesday prospective and existing restaurant owners will have the chance to meet with representatives from the departments at one time to review their plans and learn how to open or expand a restaurant in the County.

The “Recipes for Success Welcome Packet” will be available at all County regional services centers or online. Business owners can also schedule a free pre-design consultation meeting by calling 311 or 240-777-0311 from outside the County. To download the preliminary design consultation application packet, visit the DPS website.

Handy New Booklet for Seniors Tells How to “Get Out & Stay Active”

With a copy of “Get Out and Stay Active: Living and Thriving in Montgomery County,” seniors can learn about programs and services in the County such as: active adult programs for those 55+; senior centers; fitness and sports; travel; tips and tours; volunteering; and transportation options.

The 22-page booklet was published by Montgomery County Recreation in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Aging and Disability Services.

See the booklet.

Police Chief Manger to Lead Major Cities Chiefs Police Association

Police Chief Thomas Manger has been elected to serve as president of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association (MCCA) for the next two years, beginning January 1, 2015.

MCCA is a professional association of chiefs and sheriffs representing the largest cities in the United States, Canada and the UK. MCCA membership is comprised of the 66 largest law enforcement agencies in the United States, nine largest in Canada and one in the UK. The MCCA provides a forum for urban police, sheriffs and other law enforcement chief executives to discuss common problems and to share information and problem-solving strategies.

The current president of MCCA, Chief Charles H. Ramsey, Police commissioner of Philadelphia, will complete his two terms in office at the end of December 2014.

Read the news release.

Leggett Signs “Ban the Box” Bill

County Executive Ike Leggett on Nov. 10 signed the “Ban the Box” legislation that will delay the time during the job application process when certain employers can ask an applicant about their criminal background. Among those at the ceremonies in Rockville were the chief sponsors of the legislation, County Councilmembers Marc Elrich, left, and Cherri Branson, right. Also at the ceremonies were Councilmember Roger Berliner (second from left), Council Vice President George Leventhal (center) and Director of the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation Art Wallenstein.
County Executive Ike Leggett recently signed the legislation passed by the County Council that delays the point at which an employer in the County can inquire into the criminal history of an applicant for a job in the County until the conclusion of the first interview. It makes exceptions for any positions currently required by state or federal law to have completed background checks, like childcare workers, teachers, and those working with vulnerable populations.

The ‘Ban the Box’ law gets its unofficial name from the question (or box to be checked) on an employment application that asks an applicant about their criminal background.

Read more in the news release.

Survey for Residents about Local Cable Channels

The mission of Montgomery County’s Public, Education and Government (PEG) organization of locally-based cable television stations and their respective web sites is to provide information about programs and opportunities throughout our County.

The stations represent County and local governments, Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College and the independent Montgomery Community Media.

To help meet their goals, the channels are seeking the most relevant methods to communicate with and learn more about what information is important to residents and viewers.

The 11-question survey should take only about three minutes to complete – a small investment of time to help PEG better serve you.

Public Libraries Offers New Online Driving Test Resource for Residents

Montgomery County residents can now take free online Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) practice tests thanks to a partnership between Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) and, that allows access to the test at

The new service includes free tests, specifically based on Maryland State DMV materials, and accessibility tools that allow users to hear selections read aloud, make them into MP3s, translate pages into other languages, magnify text and mask sections of the screen for greater visibility.

For more information on other services available from Montgomery County Public Libraries, visit

County Maintains Coveted Triple-A Bond Rating

Montgomery County has maintained its Triple-A bond rating from three Wall Street bond rating agencies, which enables the County to sell long-term bonds at the most favorable rates, saving local 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.

Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s all affirmed the “AAA” rating – the highest achievable -- for the County. They all termed the outlook for Montgomery County as “stable.”

Read more information in the news release.

Public - Private Partnership Agreement Signed for Wheaton Triangle Redevelopment

County Executive Ike Leggett recently announced the signing of a public-private partnership agreement that will remake the downtown Wheaton Triangle. The County’s partners in the venture are affiliates of StonebridgeCarras, LLC, a Bethesda-based real estate firm, and The Bozzuto Group, a Greenbelt-based residential real estate company.

The agreement also creates a new Georgia Avenue gateway to Silver Spring with mixed-use development on the site of the current headquarters of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), which also houses the County’s Planning Board and Planning Department staff.

Together, the two sites represent 1.1 million square feet of development that is expected to advance Montgomery County’s smart growth, continue the revitalization of downtown Wheaton, and move County departments and agencies from leased space to a more cost-effective, environmentally sensitive, publicly owned building.

Wheaton’s new downtown will be a transit-oriented development that includes a town square, a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified office building, retail, residences -- including affordable housing -- and public parking.

Read more in the news release.

Recreation Reopens Clarksburg 55+ Active Adult Program

After being eliminated more than four years ago due to budget cuts, the Clarksburg 55+ Active Adult Program has resumed operations at the Clarksburg Park Activity Building, 22501 Wims Rd. The new senior program will be offered on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The 55 + Active Adult Programs, formerly known as the Neighborhood Senior Programs, offer socialization, entertainment, health, wellness, exercise and informational programs in 13 locations throughout the County.

For more information, call 240-777-4924.

Gas Station Thefts in County; Police Offer Tips

Over approximately the last three months, 12 thefts from vehicles and six vehicle thefts have occurred at gas stations while people have been filling up their vehicles.

County Police investigators believe that during these thefts, the suspects look for a distracted victim; for example, a person who is outside of their vehicle paying for their gas purchase or who is talking on his/her cell phone. While the victim is outside of his/her vehicle and is distracted, the suspect quickly enters the vehicle. Often before the victim realizes what has occurred, the suspect(s) flees the area. In some incidents, only property is stolen.

In the wake of continuing reports of these kind of thefts, police urge residents to remove their keys from the ignition and lock their vehicles while they are at gas stations.

Anyone with information about these thefts should call the Centralized Auto Theft Section at 240-773-6370.

Deadline Nears to Apply for Positions on Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Advisory Committees

The Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) remind County residents, businesses and community organizations interested in serving on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Corridor Advisory Committees (CACs) that they have until November 21 to apply.

Over the next two years, four major corridors will be evaluated for a Rapid Transit System, including Georgia Ave., US Route 29 (Colesville Rd. and Columbia Pike), MD Route 355 (Frederick Rd., Rockville Pike and Wisconsin Ave.) and Veirs Mill Rd. A CAC will be established for each corridor under consideration

The CAC nomination form is available online and details the structure, selection procedures, specific tasks, formation process and operating guidelines for the CACs.

For more information, call 240-777-7155, email or visit the RTS website

County Archives Re-opens at New Location

Montgomery County Council President Craig Rice, Council Vice President George Leventhal and Councilmember Nancy Navarro were among those celebrating the recent re-opening of the Montgomery County Archives at its new location, 8536 Anniversary Circle in Gaithersburg

The archives were established on July 29, 1985 to serve as the institutional memory of the County government and contain the government’s official records. It has been closed since 2010 due to a structural renovation project.

The Montgomery County Historical Society is again administering the operation of the archives. Research hours are Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursdays from noon to 4 p.m., and by appointment.

For more information about the archives, call 301-926-5002 or 301-340-2825.

"Ready for Tomorrow: Education and Workforce Summit" Airing on County Cable

The key points and enthusiasm of the “Ready for Tomorrow: Education and Workforce Summit,” which recently attracted more than 200 attendees and an elite group of speakers to the White Oak Community Recreation Center, has been captured in a one-hour special program now showing on the County Government cable station County Cable Montgomery (CCM). The summit, which was organized by County Councilmember Nancy Navarro, focused on themes such as closing the academic achievement gap and preparing young people for the jobs of the future.

“Ready for Tomorrow” can be seen throughout November on CCM (Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) on Fridays at 11 a.m.; Saturdays at 2:30 p.m.; Sundays at 11 a.m.; Mondays at 9:30 a.m.; Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Thursdays at 11 a.m.

County Teens Speak Out at Town Hall Meeting

Local teens recently had a chance to interact one-on-one with County Council members at the Teen Town Hall Meeting and voice opinions on issues of concern to them.

Because nearly one-quarter of the County's population -- of almost 1 million people -- is under the age of 18, the decision-makers of today wanted to hear from the decision-makers of tomorrow.

Hear what the young people had to say.