December 18, 2014

County’s Holiday Schedule for Christmas and New Year’s

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Christmas Day on Thursday, December 25 and New Year’s Day, January 1:
  • County Offices – closed 
  • Libraries – closed on December 25 and January 1; all branches will close at 6 p.m. on December 24 and 31 
  • County liquor stores – closed 
  • Recreation – all facilities closed December 25 and January 1; senior centers, community and neighborhood recreation centers will be closed December 25 through January 1; aquatics programs operating on a modified schedule, contact each facility directly 
  • Montgomery Parks -- all Parks facilities are closed both days. 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 and courts – closed 
*Collection provided one day later for remainder of week (last collection day is Saturday).

Leggett, Governor-Elect Hogan Meet on Local Issues; Speak at Committee for Montgomery Breakfast

County Executive Ike Leggett and Governor-Elect Larry Hogan held their first meeting, since the recent election, at Seibel’s Restaurant in Burtonsville on December 11 to talk over issues of common concern, including economic development and transportation.

The two leaders shared the stage the following morning at the Committee for Montgomery’s (CfM) Annual Legislative Breakfast, viewed by many as the unofficial kick off of the legislative season. This year’s 25th breakfast followed a long-standing CfM tradition that in gubernatorial election years, the new governor-elect is invited to present the keynote address.

Before Governor-Elect Hogan spoke, Leggett focused his brief remarks on the six-point plan he introduced in his inaugural address designed “to spur economic growth and position our County for the future.”

Listen to Leggett’s remarks.

In an interview at the breakfast, the governor-elect said that he had what he termed “a terrific meeting” with Leggett the day before and “what I found was that he and I actually agree on a lot of things, found some common ground.”

Hear Hogan’s comments on his meeting with the Executive.

According to its website, Committee for Montgomery is "a coalition of leaders representing a broad cross-section of Montgomery County business, labor, education, civic and community-based organizations. Our mission is to advocate in Annapolis on issues of importance to Montgomery County and the State."

Leggett: County Delegation to India, Taiwan Elevates Montgomery’s Global Profile and Puts “Runners on Base” to Broaden Life Sciences Investment, Boost County Business

During his recent economic development trip to India, County Executive Ike Leggett visited the offices of the Montgomery County-based life sciences firm U.S. Pharmacopeia in Hyderabad.  

County Executive Ike Leggett’s recent 12-day mission trip to India and Taiwan broadened Montgomery County’s reach in education, biotech and other high-tech areas and helped local businesses and Montgomery College extend their markets in India.

A full schedule of visits across seven cities to businesses, high-tech parks, government offices and educational institutions reflected the focus of the mission on education, business development, and cultural understanding.

Leading a delegation that included Indian-American Maryland State Delegate Aruna Miller, Montgomery College President Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard, County Councilmember Nancy Floreen, and several County business leaders, Leggett visited four cities in India before continuing on to Taiwan.

The delegation opened doors for County businesses, established a “Sister City” relationship with Hyderabad, a major IT hub in India dubbed “cyberabad,” and furthered the study of languages, cultures and the humanities through the signing of a collaboration agreement between the Global Institute of Humanities at Montgomery College and Jindal Global University.

New Flyers for Seniors on Staying Safe on the Roads and Accessing Lifelong Learning Opportunities

Two new flyers covering topics of interest to seniors have been created.

“Staying Safe on the Roads" (pdf) contains information for seniors, their families and friends to help older drivers recognize shortcomings and plan for the effects of aging. The flyer also includes a helpful list of Frequently Asked Questions about older driver safety.

“Vital Living Network’s Guide to Lifelong Learning Opportunities in Montgomery County for Older Adults" (pdf) lists nearly 20 sources of classes, programs and activities at locations around the County.

Also see two earlier flyers on senior issues: "Transportation Options for Older Adults" (pdf) and "Caregiving Support and Aging Services" (pdf).

Copies of the new flyers will be distributed to County facilities such as public libraries, community recreation centers and regional services centers.

Schedule of Upcoming Public Forums on FY2016 Operating Budget

County Executive Ike Leggett will hold the first of five budget forums the first week in January to seek input from residents about Fiscal Year 2016 Operating Budget priorities. The free forum will begin at 7 p.m. on Monday, January 5 at the BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Dr., Germantown.

Additional forums (all beginning at 7 p.m.) in other areas of the County are scheduled on:
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 in this activity, call 240-777-6507, TTY 240-773-3556 or email a request to

The County Executive announces his Recommended Fiscal Year 2016 Operating Budget on March 16. The County Council approves the operating budget at the end of May.

Join Montgomery County’s conversation about the FY16 Operating Budget on social media and help raise awareness by using #MontCoFY16budgetforum.

Tips to Reduce Waste and Recycle More during the Holidays, Throughout the Year

Residents are reminded that they can help the County reach its goal to reduce waste and recycle 70 percent of the waste stream by 2020 by reducing the amount of waste they generate and recycling everything that is possible to recycle.

The Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services (DSWS) of the Department of Environmental Protection, notes that while the winter holiday season traditionally yields extra amounts of waste, there are ways to reduce what individual households might generate now and throughout the year.

See the news release for tips about unwanted mail and how to reduce, reuse and recycle while shopping, wrapping and entertaining. Also included are tips about recycling beyond the holiday season, plus information on recycling Christmas trees.

Executive Joins Local Leaders to Discuss Regional Problems

County Executive Ike Leggett (center) with (left to right) Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, Washington DC Mayor-Elect Muriel Bowser, Vice Chair of the Arlington County Board of Supervisors Mary Hynes and the Greater Washington Board of Trade Executive Director Jim Dinegar.

County Executive Ike Leggett recently participated in a regional leaders forum hosted by the Greater Washington Board of Trade. Topics discussed by the officials included transportation, education, economic development, affordable housing, the 2024 Olympic Games and the Purple Line.

Office of Consumer Protection Advises Residents to Choose Charities, Donate Carefully

The Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) warns County residents to be cautious when donating to charities and other causes.

Our community has stepped up to raise money and needed items for the families affected by the recent  plane crash tragedy in the County. However, it is important to remember that scammers often use tragedies to take advantage of people.

Consumers are encouraged to:
  • Verify a charity’s non-profit status. 
  • Review how money is spent by the charity. How much money is used for administrative costs? 
  • Know the difference between “tax exempt” and “tax deductible.” 
  • Be careful of similar sounding names. A scammer may use a familiar or generic name such as Police Fund to trick you into donating. 
New fundraising vehicles are also available to individuals and groups seeking donations. For example, there is crowd-funding, the practice of funding a project or cause by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people. Crowd-funding is typically done on the internet through websites including Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and gofundme.

OCP offers the following advice to consumers:
  • Donate only to users that you know and trust. It is easy to verify a relative’s fundraising request; however, responding to a local tragedy or catastrophe may take some research on your part. Verify that the donation is going to a legitimate source. 
  • Be careful about bogus websites claiming to be donation centers. 
  • Be aware of any fees associated with a platform. Always read the fine print and remember that the method of payment may involve additional fees. 
  • Verify requests from people you know. Scammers often hack personal email accounts and use the information to steal money. 

For more information, call 240-777-3636 or visit OCP’s website.

County-based Wedding Wire Earns Emerging Business of the Year Award

Steve Silverman, DED director, left, shares the winning moment with Timothy Chi, founder & CEO of Wedding Wire, at the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce's Business Awards Dinner held at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.
Locally grown Wedding Wire, the nation's leading technology company serving the $100+ billion wedding, corporate, and social events industry, recently won the prestigious Verl Zanders Emerging Business of the Year award presented by the Department of Economic Development (DED).

Read more about Wedding Wire and the award.

Ride On Wins Transit System of Year Award

On December 3, Montgomery County’s Ride On bus system received the 2014 Transit System of the Year Award for large bus systems from the Transportation Association of Maryland (TAM). The award was presented at TAM’s annual conference.

TAM is a statewide organization representing every jurisdiction in Maryland and has a membership of more than 80 organizations. It is dedicated to improving mobility for all of Maryland’s residents.

December 4, 2014

Leggett Sworn In for Third Term; Two New Councilmembers Take Office with Incumbents

The officials elected to lead the County Government for the next four years were sworn in at Inaugural ceremonies held at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville on December 1.

County Executive Ike Leggett waves to the audience after taking the oath of office. The nine members of the Council sworn in are (from left):  Craig Rice, George Leventhal, Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, Tom Hucker and Sidney Katz (the two new members), Nancy Navarro and Hans Riemer.

The Montgomery County Executive and County Council. Seated (left to right): Hans Riemer, Nancy Floreen (vice president), George Leventhal (president) and Tom Hucker. Standing (left to right): Roger Berliner, Sidney Katz, County Executive Ike Leggett, Nancy Navarro, Craig Rice and Marc Elrich.

Watch the video of the Inauguration Ceremony.

In his speech, Leggett, looked back on “the incredible journey of the past eight years” and looked ahead “to the exciting landscape on the horizon of the next four years and beyond.

“Eight years of hard work is paying off, during that time we laid a new foundation upon which to build our dreams. The County’s momentum is accelerating. But in order to continue to move forward we must eliminate additional barriers to remain competitive regionally, nationally and globally.”

In his speech, Leggett detailed a six-point plan designed to make Montgomery more competitive and promote more investment and job growth.

“Montgomery County will never shy away from competition as long as I am your County Executive.

“Over the next four years, I want to refocus on our economic growth and shared prosperity and put to rest some misperceptions about the business climate in Montgomery County.

“Right here and now, we must dispel any myths about a lack of a welcoming business environment.

“I want us to usher in and foster a ‘culture of yes’ when it comes to doing business in Montgomery County.”

In remarks presented at the Inauguration, Council President Craig Rice talked about functioning as “One Montgomery.”

“This Council will serve once again with our great County Executive, Ike Leggett.  I am intensely proud of the historic collaboration between the Executive and the Council when the County’s fiscal future was truly on the line….

“A central theme of our work together has been that we must function as ‘One Montgomery’ -- that if the County is to stay on track as the economic and educational engine of the State, we must confront the challenges and embrace the opportunities before us together. ‘One Montgomery’ means that all of us -- the Council, the Executive, and our Delegations in both the General Assembly and Congress, as well as the School Board, the College, the Park and Planning Commission, the WSSC and our entire community—must sharpen our focus and work as one, together to achieve our goals.”

Read Council President Craig Rice’s Inaugural Remarks.

Immediate Past Council President Rice Reflects on His Term

As he concluded his one-year term as Council President, Councilmember Craig Rice (District 2) summed up the many accomplishments of the Council this year. He also said that he was glad that the Council was able to address many of the goals he set upon taking office.

“This year, I worked hand in hand with County Executive Leggett and his staff, Superintendent Starr and the School Board, Dr. Pollard and Montgomery College and Stu Edelstein and Universities at Shady Grove to make sure Montgomery County stayed on track as the economic engine and education leader of the State.

“In 2012, I had the privilege to visit the White House where President Obama told a group of Young Elected Officials that ‘You don’t get elected to be somebody; you get elected to do something.’ And I feel confident that we answered the President’s call: We certainly did a lot this year.”

See full text of remarks.

Council Elects Officers for Coming Year

The County Council has unanimously elected George Leventhal (At Large) as president and Nancy Floreen (At Large) as vice president for the year ahead.

President Leventhal, who served as Council vice president this past year, is beginning his 13th year on the Council. He previously served as Council president in 2006. He chairs the Council's Health and Human Services Committee and also serves on the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee.

Vice President Floreen was first elected to the Council in 2002. She chaired the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T and E) Committee until 2010, when she became chair of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee. She remains a member of the T and E Committee.

In his remarks, Leventhal said, “Another election is now behind us. Some people may think that the election results demonstrate that Marylanders are fed up with taxes, but I don’t see it that way. I think Marylanders and Montgomery County residents want to know that their taxes are paying for a government that works.

“We are ready to work with Maryland’s new governor. We want a state government that works, and we want a County Government that works. We are not Congress, and we are not going to engage in petty partisanship at the expense of our efficiency or our productivity. We want results, and we want a County Government focused on customer service.

“I was glad to hear County Executive Leggett in his speech...focusing on strengthening our economy and streamlining bureaucracy.

“We want to generate jobs, so that everyone who wants a job will be able to get one. We need to take a real look at workforce development. We have a disconnect between workers who need jobs and employers who need workers. Some are still feeling the systemic effects of the recession and need re-training and skill development. We must have a more robust training or unemployment program.”

Read full text of Leventhal’s remarks. 

Chat Online with the County Executive

Residents are invited to share their comments and/or concerns about issues with County Executive Ike Leggett during his next Online Chat to be held on December 10 from  2 to 3 p.m.

Questions may be submitted 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.

Life Sciences Impact Grant Program to Retain Jobs and Stimulate Growth Launched; Information Session Set for December 12

Under a new program aimed at strengthening the Life Sciences industry within the County, the Department of Economic Development (MCDED) has announced that grants of $5,000 to $25,000 will be available to companies to assist in the advancement of business development and product development initiatives.

An information session for potential grant applicants will be held on December 12 at 10 a.m, at DED’s offices, 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 800, Rockville.

Montgomery County Life Sciences companies are encouraged to submit an application that will be evaluated on the strength and ability of the company to execute the project, ability to leverage other funding sources and use of local vendors for goods/services purchased for the project.

The deadline for applications is Friday, January 2, 2015. Between five and seven companies will be selected to receive grants and will be notified by February 20, 2015.

Find the application.

Get more information about the program.

Ride On May Institute ‘S’ Plan During Winter Storms, Other Emergencies

When snow, storms or other special circumstances occur that affect Ride On’s ability to follow normal weekday schedules, the County’s transit service may operate under the 'S' Service Plan. Under the plan, Ride On attempts to maintain some bus service on all its routes even when conditions prevent staying on a regular schedule. Read more.

Pilot Snow Removal Program Launched for Capital Crescent Trail

Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is launching a pilot snow removal program this winter for the Montgomery Parks portion of the Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesda.

Park staff will clear snow on three and a half miles of the trail starting at the Bethesda Avenue entrance point to the Montgomery County / Washington D.C. line, as well as along 12 feeder trails. Parks staff will begin clearing the trail within 24 hours from when snow stops falling.

Regular updates on the status of snow removal along the trail will be posted on Montgomery Parks’ website at during and after snow events. Trail users are welcome to contribute updates on the conditions of the trail via Twitter using #CCTSnow.

Funded by the County, the pilot program includes a one-time allocation to purchase special trail clearing equipment, as well as support to cover staff time.

The Capital Crescent Trail is a 10-foot wide, 11-mile hiker-biker trail connecting Silver Spring to Georgetown in Washington D.C. It is one of the most heavily used trails in the United States and is a recognized commuter trail by the Maryland Department of Transportation.

Leggett Commends Transportation Department for Role in Developing Bill 33-13 to Improve Pedestrian, Bicyclist Safety

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has congratulated the Department of Transportation (MCDOT) for playing an essential role in crafting Bill 33-13, Streets and Roads - Urban Road Standards and Pedestrian Safety Improvements passed last week by the County Council.

MCDOT successfully advocated for modifications to the bill proposed by the Council, changing the initial “one-size fits all” approach to one that incorporated flexibility in creating a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly urban environment. MCDOT was concerned that the bill as originally written compromised the safety of walkers and bikers.

Bill 33-13 accomplishes the goal of establishing adaptable guidelines for lane widths and road intersection curb radii that make safety for pedestrians and bicyclists the priority.

In addition to the changes for urban roads detailed in Bill 33-13, MCDOT led the effort to further modify the County Code to ensure that more sidewalks will be built during road construction and development.

Read the Council news release for more about the bill.

Read the Executive’s release on MCDOT’s contribution to enhancing the bill.

A Holiday Safety Reminder: “Heads Up in Parking Lots”

Malls, shopping areas, airports and highways aren’t the only places that are more crowded than usual during this time of year. Parking lots are often filled to near capacity which means that there are more drivers looking for an empty space. That, combined with more people than normal walking to and from their vehicles, can lead to accidents for pedestrians and drivers.

This has become such an issue that Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett made reducing pedestrian collisions a priority of his administration.

In support of the Executive’s priority, the Public Information Office began working on a public education campaign in July 2013 to help reduce the number and severity of parking lot collisions. Staff started working with property managers and owners of private parking lots to develop the campaign due to the fact that 83 percent of the collisions in 2012 occurred in private, retail lots.

The campaign slogan developed reflects a simple, direct message that tells pedestrians and drivers what to do: “Heads Up in Parking Lots: Don’t run over people. Don’t get run over.”

Learn more about the parking lot safety campaign on the County’s website.

Visit Montgomery County CEO Earns Maryland’s “Tourism Person of the Year” Award; Organization Takes Top Honors for Best Website, Best Digital Campaign

Kelly Groff, president and CEO of Visit Montgomery County received the distinguished award of Tourism Person of the Year at the Maryland Tourism & Travel Summit held recently in Ocean City. Now in its 33rd year, the prestigious award is given to an industry leader whose exceptional commitment has significantly enhanced and perpetuated the tourism industry in Maryland.

“I am thrilled to win Tourism Person of the Year, and it’s an honor to be recognized by my fellow hard-working peers in the Maryland tourism industry,” said Groff.

Visit Montgomery County also won honors as Best Website and Best Digital Campaign.

The criteria for the Best Website award specified that the new website should demonstrate a creative implementation of a brand that is visually pleasing, unique, that captures the spirit of the brand and is user friendly. In late August, Visit Montgomery launched with updated features like a county-wide calendar of events, interactive map and a trip builder.

The Best Digital Campaign award was received for the Brand Connect campaign with The Washington Post online. The new campaign brought together content generated by the Visit Montgomery staff with consumers searching the Post website. The #1 article was “Summer is for Biking in Montgomery County,” which promoted the new Capital Bikeshare program.

Read more about Kelly and Visit Montgomery in the release.

Springbrook High School Student is a Children’s Defense Fund Success Story

In this season of celebrating holidays and the blessings of family, friends and home, 17-year-old Monica Chica has a story that sends a message of hope for all ages.

The Springbrook High School student and native of El Salvador shares the experiences that have shaped her young life in a recent Children's Defense Fund Child Watch Column by Marian Wright Edelman entitled “Learning to Love What You Have.”

Edelman wrote that Monica “has an attitude about choosing to be grateful that’s wise far beyond her years: ‘The most important lesson I learned is that being happy is not about having with you what you loved in the past, but learning to love what you have in the present.’”

Hear Monica’s story in her own words.

The Children's Defense Fund grew out of the Civil Rights Movement under the leadership of Marian Wright Edelman. The CDF website states that the organization has for decades "… partnered with numerous organizations and worked with policy makers to build bipartisan support to enact laws that have helped millions of children fulfill their potential and escape poverty because they received the health care, child care, nurturing, proper nutrition and education they deserve.”

SoccerPlex's Maureen Hendricks Field Rated Best in Professional Soccer by Sports Turf Managers Association

The Maryland SoccerPlex, at 18031 Central Park Circle in Boyds, has earned "Field of the Year Award" honors from the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA), the professional association of 2,600 men and women who manage sports fields worldwide.

The award recognized the superb quality of the playing surface at Maureen Hendricks Field, the SoccerPlex's showcase stadium and the home of the Washington Spirit of the National Women's Soccer League. It also hosts many other youth, college and professional soccer matches annually, with D.C. United, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the University of Maryland having hosted events in recent years.

STMA ranks Maureen Hendricks Field as the top playing surface among eligible professional soccer venues, an honor previously bestowed on world-class facilities such as Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, OH; Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO; and Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX.

A panel of 11 judges independently scored entries based on playability, appearance of surfaces, utilization of innovative solutions, effective use of budget and implementation of a comprehensive agronomic program.