December 17, 2015

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

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Christmas Day, December 25 and New Year’s Day, January 1:
  • County Offices – closed 
  • Libraries – closed December 25, 26 and January 1, 2; all branches will close at 6 p.m. on December 24 and 31
  • County Liquor stores – closed December 25 and January 1;will close December 24 and 31 at 7 p.m
  • Recreation – all facilities are closed on December 25 and January 1; senior centers, community and neighborhood recreations centers will be closed Friday, December 25 through Friday, January 1; aquatics to close at 3 p.m. on December 24 and 31. Contact aquatics facility directly for modified holiday schedules
  • Montgomery Parks - for holiday operating schedule on Parks’ facilities, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks, tennis centers, trains and carousels, visit
  • Ride On – Sunday schedule on December 25 and January 1; limited weekday service until 10 p.m. on December 24. 
  • Metrobus – Sunday schedule 
  • Metrorail – Sunday schedule 
  • TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) -- closed
  • Refuse/recycling pickup – no collection*
  • Transfer Station – closed December 25 and January 1; Transfers Station’s public drop-off area will close at 5 p.m. on December 24 and December 31 
  • MCPS Administrative Offices – closed December 24 and 25 and January 1
  • State offices and courts – closed December 25 and January 1
*Collection for Friday provided one day later for remainder of week (last collection day is Saturday)

Coming Together For Peace

Local officials, including County Executive Ike Leggett, will join residents in a peaceful gathering to take a united stand against gun violence. The event is scheduled for Sunday, December 20 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Old Gray Courthouse in Rockville.

What You Need to Know about Montgomery’s Local Liquor Operations...

All jurisdictions “control” the sale of alcohol in some way, and about one-third of Americans live in jurisdictions with Local Liquor Control systems similar to that of Montgomery’s.
Local liquor control in Montgomery County contributes an average of $30 million in annual profit to the County’s general fund – helping us fund schools, transportation, help for the vulnerable in our midst – and more. Money generated by local liquor stays in the County, working for us – not in the pockets of wealthy out-of-state liquor interests. Privatization will eliminate this revenue to the County – requiring reductions in critical County services and/or up to a $100 additional property tax increase for every household. Plus the County would have to pay back $100 million in County liquor bonds.

Get all the facts on this important issue… HERE

Understanding the County's Changing Demographics with a New Digital Tool

Montgomery County demographics have been rapidly changing and our population has become increasingly diverse. CountyStat has developed two tools, the "Diversity Explorer" and the "Language Browser" to better understand the changes.

Here are some interesting quick facts about our changing demographics:
  • One-third of Montgomery County residents were born outside of the United States
  • Montgomery County is the number one destination in the United States for people from Ethiopia and Cameroon, and is the number two destination for immigrants from the continent of Africa (second only to Los Angeles)
  • The top five countries of origin for people born abroad and living in the County are El Salvador, Mainland China, India, Ethiopia, and Korea
  • There are more than 15 census tracts in Montgomery County in which English is the second most spoken language
  • Among all counties in the United States, Montgomery County ranks number four in the number of French speakers and speakers of African Languages, number nine in Persian speakers, number 13 in Korean and Armenian, number 14 in Greek, Thai and Hebrew, and number 15 in Chinese speakers

Hundreds of Residents Participate in "Summit on Aging"

Over 400 County residents joined County Executive Ike Leggett for his “Summit on Aging” at the Silver Spring Civic Building to review County accomplishments toward making us a “Community for A Lifetime” and chart future directions.

The Officer Noah Leotta Memorial Blood Drive

download flyer
Please join the Montgomery County Police Department in giving the gift of life by donating blood in honor of Officer Noah Leotta.
  • Date: Wednesday, December 23, 2015
  • Location: Montgomery County Public Safety Headquarters –100 Edison Park Drive, Gaithersburg – First floor conference room
  • Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Sign Up: Online or call Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767
All donors are urged to register online so the Red Cross can adequately staff. Walk-in donors will be accepted but may have a longer wait time. Donors will receive a Red Cross long-sleeve black T-shirt and Buffalo Wild Wings and Chick-fil- A food or coupons.

Free Reusable Bags for County Residents

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) reminds residents to bring reusable bags when holiday shopping. Reusable bags are not just for the grocery store -- they can be used when shopping at the mall, big box stores, or all other local businesses.

Plastic bags are one of the top four litter items found in County streams. Using eco-friendly bags when doing all shopping is a way for residents to help reduce the amount of waste generated and keep our local waterways clean. The County has one of the highest waste diversion rates (the combination of recycling rate and source reduction activities) in Maryland. The ongoing recycling efforts by residents, employees, businesses and others are essential for the County to meet its ambitious recycling goal.

DEP is working with partners to distribute free bags.. Here is where you can pick up a free reusable shopping bag.

Recreation Department Recruiting Sports Vendors for HERtime2shine Expo

Montgomery County Recreation invites local sports and fitness professionals/organizations to register as an exhibitor in the County’s first HERtime2shine Expo. The event will be held on February 13, 2016, at Westfield Montgomery shopping center, 7101 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda. Registration is free for exhibitors.

HERtime2shine will emphasize the benefits of active sports participation for girls, regardless of their ability, in ages ranging from kindergarten to high school. The Recreation Department expects to welcome hundreds of girls and their families looking to register for sports activities and programs.

Read more about the HERtime2shine Expo here.

Fenton Street Market: Evolving Placemaking in Silver Spring

Recently the highly successful Fenton Street Market announced they will be moving on from Silver Spring's Veterans Plaza next year. The pressure for activities other than Fenton Street Market on Veterans Plaza on Saturdays has increased dramatically the last couple of years. Additionally, the Fenton Street Market's commitment to Silver Spring has not changed - if anything it has increased. They will now be able to more effectively stimulate other parts of Silver Spring with their innovative approach to community building through local commerce.

Sweden Chooses County’s Get Real Health

Sweden’s eHealth Agency selected woman-owned Get Real Health's electronic personal health patient engagement platform to help its citizens access and manage their own health data.

Get Real Health, a Montgomery County health IT pioneer, is partnering with Swedish technology consulting company Capgemini Sverige AB to bring a complete patient engagement solution, called HälsaFörMig, to Sweden’s publicly-owned Swedish eHealth Agency. Capgemini will run the service, while Get Real Health’s two core products, InstantPHR® and CHBase™ (Connected Health Base), will provide the consumer health data platform.
Read more.

Montgomery County History Conference to Offer Dynamic and Informative Sessions

Montgomery College is teaming up with Montgomery History to co-host the 2016 History Conference on January 30. The day-long event includes workshops, presentations, and panel discussions covering a wide range of topics within the realm of local history.

Since 2007, the Montgomery County History Conference has been a venue for people of all ages and backgrounds—civic leaders, students, museum professionals and volunteers, history buffs, genealogists and the general public—to explore and celebrate the many facets of our past that shape our community to this day.

For more information go to 2016 History Conference

December 16, 2015

Emerald Ash Borer in Montgomery Parks

A non-native invasive beetle in Montgomery County is wreaking havoc on ash trees, many of which are located in stream valleys on parkland. Learn more on the department's plan to address the issue here.

December 7, 2015

Be Safer this Holiday Season

By the end of November, Montgomery County Police had investigated 34 fatal traffic collisions causing 35 deaths this year. Those victims’ families and friends will especially feel those tragic losses during the upcoming holidays. Unfortunately, the last quarter of the year, which includes the holiday season, has traditionally been the most dangerous time for drivers and pedestrians. The increased activity; shopping, parties, and alcohol consumption, combined with increased darkness due to the absence of Daylight Saving Time increases the risk factors.

The “Be Safer this Holiday Season” safety campaign encourages everyone to “Be Seen, Be Alert, and Be Responsible. The campaign began just before Thanksgiving and will continue through the New Year’s holiday.

Be Seen: If you are buying a new winter coat, consider purchasing a light-colored one, or at the very least, wear a white scarf and gloves. Look for clothing with reflective patches and colors that increase visibility. Don’t assume that just because you can see a vehicle, that the driver can see you.

Be Alert: Give full attention when walking or driving. Maryland is a Hands-Free state, that prohibits texting or even holding a cell phone while driving. Distracted driving continues to be a leading cause of collisions. Pedestrians by a roadway or crossing streets should not wear ear buds or talk on or look at cell telephones.

Be Responsible: Do not drink and drive and do not host parties that include alcohol for young people under 21 years. Responsible party hosts will ensure that no guest drives after drinking alcohol and will enforce a zero tolerance for alcohol use by guests under age 21.

The holidays are a busier time of the year, and we all need to take some time to think about safety. Check press release for more information.

It won’t be a Happy Holiday if it isn’t a Safe one!

Montgomery County’s New Towing Bill Targets Overly Aggressive Towing Practices

Montgomery County’s new towing law, Bill 17-15, passed unanimously by the County Council on July 21 and signed into law by the County Executive, took effect on December 1. The new law is designed to address overly aggressive and predatory towing practices and restore regulatory balance in commercial and residential parking lots.

NBC TV Reporter Pat Collins does a predatory towing “demonstration” (following 30 second commercial):!/news/local/New-Mont--Co--Law-Against-Predatory-Towing/359094551

Read more about the new towing law here.

Montgomery County Moving Network Infrastructure Forward

County Executive Ike Leggett's Six-Point Economic Plan outlines internet connectivity and network infrastructure as fundamental to building a robust economic future. Montgomery County and USA Fiber is connecting its FiberNet network, which will continue to strengthen the high-speed fiber networks needed to serve County business and research corridors and transit-oriented communities.

For more information read USA FIBER and Montgomery County Focus on the Future of a Fiber Connected World.

Tips for Safer Internet Shopping

During the holiday season many residents take advantage of the convenience and good deals offered on the internet. Shopping online often has many benefits but may also have risks.

This video from the Office of Consumer Protection provides these important suggestions to protect and secure private information when shopping online.

Video produced by County Cable Montgomery staff, Cathy Grubman, Mike Springirth and Loren Olson.

Best Holiday Gift for Dog or Cat

Make sure your dog or cat has a valid rabies vaccination and a Montgomery County Pet License. Dogs and cats four months or older must wear current rabies and pet license tags. This can help save your pet’s life. If your dog or cat is lost during this busy holiday season, an immediately visible license tag on your pet’s collar is the fastest way to be reunited with your lost pet. It can only be issued with proof of vaccination against the rabies virus. Learn more from County animal services website.

If you love them, you’ll license them…and it’s the law!

Light in Deepest Night

An Advent Concert in Remembrance of the Victims of Gun Violence and in Hope for a More Peaceful World. View County calendar.

Living in Montgomery County is a far cry from 'The Real Housewives'.

It is easy to switch channels when the drama becomes too much on reality television, however, County residents dealing with real life situations do not have the convenience of a remote control shut-off when coping with real-life issues.

Read Councilmember Nancy Navarro's Washington Post article, which highlighted the differences of ‘The Real Housewives of Potomac’ and County families who struggle with situations such as affording nutritious lunches for their children, fleeing violence in Central America or the teenager walking to the food bank because her mother is holding down three jobs trying to make ends meet for the family.

County Executive Ike Leggett met with members of Montgomery Agricultural Producers

County Executive Ike Leggett met with members of Montgomery Agricultural Producers (MAP), a non-profit organization representing the County’s agricultural producers. MAP is the voice of those residents of Montgomery County who work to protect the precious resource we call the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve. Pictured (l to r) are: Eric Spates, Jeremy Criss, Bob Cissel, Ike Leggett, Michael Jamison, Randy Stabler, and Wade Butler.

Public Forum on Trafficking and Minors

An upcoming public forum is scheduled to examine the increased prevalence of children at risk to sexual trafficking. The discussion aims to provide information on children, many of whom have fled the violence of their home countries, who are at a greater risk because of their separation from family, language and education barriers and lack of shelter.

The session will include discussion on the complexities on the issues, achievable legislative interventions and best practices in dealing with this vulnerable population.

This meeting is sponsored by County Executive Leggett, Councilmembers Hucker and Reimer, the District 20 delegation, Safe Silver Spring and the Montgomery County Human Trafficking Task Force.

Leggett established the Montgomery County Human Trafficking Task Force in 2014 to develop coordinated strategies for prevention and eradication to best address the issue in Montgomery County.

The free session, which is open to the public is scheduled for December 10. It will begin at 7 p.m. at the Montgomery College (Takoma Park campus) 7977 Georgia Avenue, at the Health Sciences Center, Room 222, Silver Spring. For more information visit County calendar.

Volunteer Celebrated 102nd Birthday

Ed Garbe and Gilchrist
 Center staff Paola Bichara
The Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity (Gilchrist Center) recently held a special celebration for volunteer Ed Garbe, who celebrated his 102-year-old birthday.

Garbe volunteers with the Gilchrist Center’s English Conversation Club, which supports residents who speak English as a second language to understand language essentials, pronunciation and social and cultural norms.

Garbe, a retired industrial engineer from New York, is one of the hundreds of volunteers who support the Gilchrist Center to reach its goal of serving the immigrant and minority populations in the County.

Perhaps, it makes sense to follow this centenarian’s direction and choose volunteering as a secret weapon toward life longevity.

Court Watch Releases New Study

Court Watch, an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that fights domestic violence has released a study called "Abusers with Guns: The Critical Role of Maryland’s Courts in Reducing Lethal Risks to Domestic Violence Victims".

The research indicated that judges told only 1 out of 126 convicted domestic violence offenders they were banned from possessing or purchasing guns even though studies support that when an abuser has access to a gun the chances of a victim being killed rises 500%.

Read the complete study (pdf).

Montgomery Parks is Seeking Input for Future Updates to Wheaton Regional Park

Park planners are looking for public input on future updates to the Wheaton Regional Park Master Plan.

The plan, dating back to 1987, is being updated to accommodate the changing needs of the area and communities. Find out how to share your ideas at Wheaton Regional Park Feedback.

Montgomery County Teachers Pays Competitive

Montgomery County, a community that values its great public schools, realizes that teachers are the proletariats to the success of a quality school system. To recruit and retain the best teachers, Montgomery County has highly competitive salaries for teachers as compared to other local municipalities.

For more read this Washington Post Article on Teacher Salaries.

Montgomery County Public Schools Capital Improvement Budget Submitted

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) recommended Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Capital Budget and the FY 2017-2022 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget was submitted by Interim Superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Larry Bowers in late October.

Following the budget release Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot reportedly criticized MCPS for higher-than-necessary school construction costs in the county. Bowers followed up with a letter to Franchot (pdf) which cited the need for capital funding to address the growing need for additional classroom space and revitalization and expansion of program space.

The County Executive will publish his CIP recommendation for all county agencies in mid-January for County Council discussion and action.

November 23, 2015

Montgomery County Government Will Observe the Following Holiday Schedule On Thanksgiving Day

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, November 26:
  • County Offices – closed 
  • Libraries – closed 
  • County liquor stores – closed 
  • Recreation – all programs and facilities are closed 
  • Montgomery Parks -- for holiday operating schedule on Parks’ facilities, 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 Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27 
  • State offices and courts – closed 
*Collection for Thursday and Friday provided one day later for remainder of week (last collection day is Saturday)

Leggett Hails News of County’s 2015 Triple-A Bond Rating; County Among Best In Nation For Fiscal Responsibility

County Executive Ike Leggett announced that Montgomery County has maintained its Triple-A bond rating for 2015 from three Wall Street bond rating agencies.

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.”

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

World Class Chinese Dive Show Comes to Montgomery County

The Montgomery County Recreation Department announces the “East Meets West 2015 Dive Show,” to be held on Sunday, November 29 at 1 p.m., at the Germantown Indoor Swim Center, 18000 Central Park Circle in Boyds.

The show will feature 12 members from China’s Guangdong Provincial Diving Team. The Chinese divers are among the most skilled young divers in the world and are expected to vie for spots on China’s 2020 Olympic squad. The show will also include diving demonstrations from local top young divers and a clown diving exhibition. Live music will be performed by artist BT, a Rockville native, who was nominated for “Best Electronic/Dance Album” category at the 2011 GRAMMY Awards.

For more information visit Chinese Dive Team.

Leggett Spells Out Montgomery County Priorities for the Upcoming Session of the Maryland General Assembly

County Executive Ike Leggett released Montgomery County’s priorities for the session of the Maryland General Assembly due to convene in Annapolis on January 13, 2016.

Highlights of County priorities include increased State funding for school construction, transit, and roads, and support for ongoing County economic development and job initiatives. Both the County Executive and the County Council are opposed to any legislation that would privatize local liquor control – which would undermine public health, stretch thin County law enforcement, and cost County taxpayers more than $30 million a year.

Read more about Montgomery County priorities here.

Montgomery’s Department of Economic Development Is Still On Business

Change is in the air (and on the ground) as developments continue in County Executive Ike Leggett’s creation of new, private 501(C)3 organizations,which will manage the County’s economic development and workforce services.

The Department of Economic Development (DED) is continuing its work on projects to expand Montgomery County’s business base. Read more about the highlights of the ongoing work while this transition is underway.

Predatory Towing Bill to Ease Resident Frustration

Residents will get a break from frustrating towing practices when Bill No. 17-15, known as the “Predatory Towing Bill,” becomes effective on November 30.

The new legislation, enacted to protect residents from aggressive predatory towing, empowers the Office of Consumer Protection to more vigorously investigate and act on improper towing practices.

  • Read more about Bill 17-15 here.
  • Read Washington Post article.

Leggett Announces January Forums to Get Public Input on FY17 County Operating Budget

County Executive Ike Leggett has announced the dates, times, and places of five budget forums to be held throughout the County in January. Leggett holds these meetings annually to gather resident input which he uses to shape the upcoming County operating budget. Leggett will release the proposed budget on March 15.

The meetings, which all begin at 7 p.m., are located at:

Open Enrollment for Health Insurance Coverage Now Underway; Affordable Care Act Requires Coverage for Adults 18-64

Open enrollment for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) began Sunday, November 1 and is open until January 31, 2016. Under the ACA, adults age 18 to 64 years of age must have health coverage or will pay a tax penalty.

The Maryland Health Connection is the state’s online insurance marketplace and eligible Montgomery County residents who need health coverage have three easy ways to enroll.

Enrollment is simple and available 24/7 at:
To find in-person assistance in Montgomery County, go to

General Services Receives Peerless Rockville Award

(From Left: Scott Waters, AECOM Design, Randy Hawkins, DGS, Hamid Omidvar, DGS,David Dise, Director DGS,City of Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton)

The Department of General Services was recognized at the Peerless Rockville Awards Ceremony held on November 20 at the Glenview Mansion in Rockville for the renovation of the Montgomery County Circuit Court South Tower (Annex) project.

The Annex is a six-story addition with one level of underground parking and a mechanical penthouse. The Annex provides 10 additional courtrooms, eight hearing rooms and administrative spaces. Renovation of the existing Circuit Court includes upgrading interior spaces and mechanical, electrical and plumbing renovations. The project has received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification. The project includes runoff water bio-retention areas, a vegetated roof and roof mounted photovoltaic panels. The existing plaza and green spaces have been redesigned to invite public use of the space. The green space includes a fountain, new trees, benches and a Memorial. Three of the four project phases have been completed. The final phase is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

Community Meeting to Discuss Montgomery County Airpark

Residents discussed views about the Montgomery County Airpark at a community forum held on November 4. The Airpark has received increased attention after an airplane crashed into a home near the airpark last December. Six people were killed in the crash including a mother and two children in the home and three people who were onboard the aircraft.

County officials are waiting for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to release their final report on the crash before making recommendations about the airpark.

Registration for the Recreation Department’s Winter Programming Is Open

Registration for winter programs and services is now open. The Recreation Department offers hundreds of activities and programs that fill quickly, so early registration is encouraged.
To view the guide online or to register for programs, go to

Department of General Services Recognized for LEED Gold Certification For Recently Renovated Bette Carol Thompson Scotland Community Recreation Center

The Department of General Services recently achieved Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification for the Bette Carol Thompson Scotland Community Recreation Center. The Gold Certification identifies the County’s commitment to building facilities that promote renewable, clean energy.

County Executive Ike Leggett joined residents to re-open the renovated center at a ribbon cutting ceremony held on November 1, 2014.

Give a Hand Up, Not A Handout

Given the generosity of County residents, it is no surprise there is considerable effort to provide for others in need. Individuals standing in street median strips holding signs describing hard luck can pull at our heartstrings. However, giving money to panhandlers isn’t a way to help and it puts individuals at risk in busy intersections.

Service providers who work daily with the homeless report most of the money given to panhandlers is used to support their addictions – drugs, alcohol and tobacco rather than provide help.

For more information on how to help, visit the

New Business to Expand Headquarters In Montgomery County

Teaching Strategies, an early childhood education company that creates early childhood curriculums and professional development techniques for teachers, will move its Bethesda offices from Wisconsin Avenue to a new location on East West Highway next month. The move is expected to bring 50 new jobs to the County. For more information, visit website.

Ride On Recognized for Innovative Transit Technology

Montgomery County's Ride On bus system was recently featured in a National Public Radio story about how transit systems use technology and data to improve service and information access for customers. Recently, Ride On installed new signs at nine bus shelters that let riders track their bus on a map and also shows when the next bus will arrive. Learn more about the real time signs online.

Upcoming Free Legal Series: How Does a Maryland Civil Trial Work?

Montgomery County Circuit Court Law Library and Montgomery County Bar Foundation will offer a free workshop to explore how the Maryland civil judicial system works. The session is offered December 2, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at Montgomery County Circuit Court, 50 Maryland Ave, Room N-3420, Rockville.

Bethesda Winter Wonderland

The Bethesda Urban Partnership will kick off the holiday season with the Bethesda Winter  Wonderland. This free holiday event will take place on Saturday, December 5 from 1 to 4 p.m. in Veterans Park on the corner of at the corner of Norfolk and Woodmont avenues. The celebration will feature holiday performances, a live ice sculpting presentation and a visit from Santa Claus. For more information go to Bethesda Winter Wonderland.

The Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Chapter 227 Needs Your Help

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is looking to collect undergarments to be made available to homeless female veterans who attend the Winterhaven 2016 event at the VA Medical Center in Washington, DC on January 23, 2016.

For the past few years, VVA, Chapter 227, has been staffing the women's clothing service at the event. Through this experience the VVA has become aware that brassieres are one item that is difficult for these women to obtain. For many of these women, this is an expense they cannot afford.

Please send donations to:
VVA Chapter 227
P.O. Box 5653
Arlington, Virginia 2205-0653

November 16, 2015

Montgomery’s Department of Economic Development: Still in Business, Still on Business

Change is in the air (and on the ground) as developments continue in County Executive Ike Leggett’s creation of new, private 501(C)3 organizations which will manage the County’s economic development and workforce services.

Meanwhile, the Department of Economic Development is continuing its work on projects to expand Montgomery County’s business base.

Highlights include:
  • Technology Transfer. The annual Innovation2Commercialization Conference (now in its 4th year) took place November 3 at the Universities at Shady Grove. This year we joined with the Mid-Atlantic Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) annual meeting for two days packed with exciting panels, presentations and networking. Acknowledgements to Fizie Haleem for her hard work in organizing and chairing the conference. Because of her efforts, DED won the State and Local Economic Development Award from the Mid-Atlantic FLC. 
  • STEM Boot Camp. For the 2nd time our Workforce group offered a 5-week program in partnership with Montgomery College to introduce un- and under-employed County residents to opportunities in the STEM field. This session’s cohort was 9 strong, up from five in the first cohort. The participants work on their math skills, learn about careers in STEM, hear from employers, earn a customer service certification, and develop their path to STEM careers. Thanks to Barbara Kaufmann and her team for starting this innovative program.
  • Entrepreneurship. Relevant Health is Montgomery County’s first accelerator. It is under the auspices of BioHealthInnovation (BHI) and is managed by Product Savvy. The focus is Health IT. There were 75 applications from around the world. The final cohort for the 5-month program includes CEO’s of 7 companies, some regional, a few national, and one international. The program began this week; the formal ribbon-cutting on their cool space in the Rockville Innovation Center is Thursday, 11/12. Thanks to John Korpela for managing the space transformation and to Valerie Fremont and John for participating in the vetting of the applicants. 
  • Marketing. The final round of MOVE advertisements appeared in Business Journal markets up and down the east coast (Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC and Research Triangle Park). This marketing effort was funded jointly by the Montgomery Business Development Corporation and DED. Through the MOVE program, which is one of the County Executive’s 2015 economic development initiatives, we have attracted 26 new businesses to Montgomery County that collectively absorbed 103,176 square feet of office spaces, and added 187 jobs with a projection of another 343 new jobs over the next three years. The space filled to date is roughly the equivalent of the Executive Office Building!
  • Business Attraction and Expansion. We are working with 2 attraction and 4 expansion projects that can add several new properties and provide upwards of a few thousand new job opportunities for residents. While very exciting, each project requires unprecedented coordination and support from the State, County, and the local jurisdiction. Decisions on these 6 projects are expected to be made by mid-2016.
  • Redevelopment Assistance. Plans to deliver a very different variety and level of technical services to the Wheaton area are well underway. The Wheaton Innovation Center has been the mainstay of the county’s strategy in helping to develop the MFD (Minority, Female, and Disabled), professional services sector so prominent in that area. It can only reach a small number of businesses and given that the Wheaton redevelopment is about to begin, we decided to put “feet on the street” rather than “bodies in seats” in order to reach a much larger population. We tapped organizations that are already working with the local community and that have the capacity to deliver technical services (marketing, inventory control, financial accountability, etc.) especially to Wheaton’s Spanish-speaking small business population. The response has been extremely heartening and we are in the final stages of negotiating a consortium agreement with the Latino Economic Development Corporation, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Washington and the Small Business Development Center to deliver intensive technical services to Wheaton redevelopment area businesses. Our expectation is that this model will expand to serve the larger downcounty area as it is refined. 
  • Mentoring. This week the founding mentors for the Technology Council of Maryland Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) spent a day honing their team mentoring skills that are at the core of this very exciting program used in 50 communities around the globe. The VMS program was started at MIT 15 years ago and has produced stunning outcomes in communities that have adopted it. We have recruited 15 founding mentors who include serial technology entrepreneurs, angel and venture capitalists, seasoned professional services providers, and government contracting experts to work with our 8 companies during this first pilot phase with scale-up expected in FY17. DED provided the training and a sponsorship to fund the initiation of the program.
  • 1776. The partnership agreement between 1776, DC’s incredible co-working/accelerator space, and Montgomery County is live. This gives us the opportunity to work with 1776’s expanded resources, touch their companies, and establish the county as a place for exciting, innovative beta test sites in the government services space. In return, 1776 will host several events in the county, provide access to their blogs and electronic newsletters for our content and recognize us as their first regional partner. Our thanks to Councilmember Riemer for spearheading this effort. 
  • Open Office Hours. We continue to offer 1-on-1 sessions to local businesses through appointments at a variety of the County’s 23 shared executive office spaces (Regis, Intelligent Office, Creative Colony, etc.). Hats off to Judy Stephenson for continuing and nurturing this popular program.
  • Life Sciences Impact Grants. The 6-month reports are all in from the initial round of grants that were awarded in the first quarter of 2015 to 8 companies and we are evaluating the process and initial results to determine if any changes are warranted. 
  • Special Projects. We kicked off the Office Market Working Group, a private sector led committee tasked by the County Executive with developing recommendations on ways to address the growing vacancy in the County’s commercial space.
  • Transition. The Boards of the new economic development and workforce organizations are approved and have begun working as Department of Economic Development staff continue essential services, move ahead on existing initiatives, and focus their efforts on providing a smooth transition. 
In short, Montgomery’s Department of Economic Development is open for business and will keep on working right through to the transition. Contact Sally Sternbach, Acting Director of the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development at 240-777-2005.

November 2, 2015

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Veterans Day on Wednesday, November 11.

  • County Offices – closed 
  • Libraries – closed
  • County liquor stores – all retail stores are open normal hours
  • Recreation – aquatic and community centers open as scheduled; classes and programs will meet as scheduled; all senior programs cancelled, and administrative offices and senior centers closed
  • Montgomery Parks -- for holiday operating schedule on Parks’ facilities, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks, tennis centers, trains and carousels, visit
  • Ride On – special modified holiday schedule; go to and click on “Holidays” to see specific schedules
  • Metrobus – Saturday supplemental schedule 
  • Metrorail – Saturday holiday schedule 
  • TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) -- closed
  • Refuse/recycling pickup – no collection*
  • Transfer Station – open 
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
  • MCPS Administrative Offices – open
  • State offices and courts – closed
*Collection provided one day later for remainder of week (last collection day is Saturday)

Montgomery County Salutes Vietnam Veterans

Honor & Gratitude: Montgomery County Salutes Vietnam Veterans was held October 24 at the University of Shady Grove in Rockville. The event, hosted by broadcast journalist Bob Schieffer, formerly of CBS News drew an audience of more than 800, including U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin and Rep. Chris Van Hollen. County Executive Ike Leggett, who served as an Army captain in Vietnam, Council President George Leventhal and other County Councilmembers also participated.

Neighborhood Leaf Collection Begins November 9

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

Residents should look for posted signs along the streets for information about pick-up dates. For more information visit

Workforce Development Continues to Move Forward

County Executive Ike Leggett’s initiative to renew the County’s workforce development efforts moved forward as the County Council approved the non-profit WorkSource Montgomery Inc. as the operating arm of the new Workforce Development Board and the begins the search for a dynamic CEO to head the new effort.

Consolidating and streamlining the way Montgomery County promotes job training and placement for County workers and meets the work force needs of County employers – both large and small – was an important plank in Leggett’s Six-Point Economic Development Plan. The Plan, unveiled by Leggett in his inaugural speech as he began his third term last December, built on the community impact efforts made by Montgomery Moving Forward, an effort by non-profits, the business community, government and a Workforce Strategies Steering Committee that produced the final recommendations.

Read more about the action plan here.

County Delegation On Four-Day “Sister City” Trip to El Salvador

A delegation of 36 County residents will leave on a four-day trip to El Salvador on November 7 as part of Montgomery County’s Sister City relationship with the Salvadoran state of Morazán.

Morazán was selected for partnering because an estimated 70,000 Salvadorans live in Montgomery County making it the number one country of origin of Montgomery County’s immigrant population. Many Salvadorans came here from the eastern part of El Salvador. There are currently several active hometown associations in Montgomery County which support projects in Morazán.

The delegation will have the opportunity to meet with local communities, visit schools and organizations, engage in community projects, and provide medical supplies. The purpose of the program is to encourage and foster friendship, partnership and mutual cooperation through educational, cultural, social, economic, humanistic and charitable exchanges between the people of Montgomery County and communities of other nations.

All County employees on the trip are paying all their own expenses.

Find out more about Montgomery Sister Cities

Connecting Youth Opportunity

A research report released October 23 finds that stronger social and academic supports are needed to connect African American youth to education and the workforce. The research report, "Connecting Youth to Opportunity: How Black and African American Youth Perspectives Can Inform a Blueprint for Improving Opportunity in Montgomery County, Maryland" presents the findings and implications of a study that looked at disconnection from the perspectives of 1,210 youth, ages 14 to 24, who were high school students, high school graduates, and youth who left high school before graduating.

The report was commissioned by The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. It was conceived and written by The Community Foundation, Montgomery College, and BETAH Associates, Inc., and researched by BETAH Associates, Inc.

County Executive Ike Leggett speaking in Montgomery College’s Cultural Arts Center to discuss “Connecting Youth to Opportunity: How African American Youth Perspectives Can Inform a Blueprint for Improving Opportunity in Montgomery County.” Photo by Pete Vidal, Montgomery College

To review the entire report visit Connecting Youth to Opportunity

Leggett Announces Solar and Advanced Energy Initiative Projects That Will Save Estimated $11 Million

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett announced the County’s largest solar initiative ever at an event in Chevy Chase on Monday, October 19. The solar initiative with SolarCity encompasses 14 individual projects and will produce approximately 6 million kilowatt-hours each year – enough to power nearly 600 average size homes. The County will realize significant savings from the move to clean solar, with combined project savings expected to be approximately $11 million dollars over the next 20 years. The announcement highlighted the first phase of the initiative, led by the Department of General Services (DGS), at the Jane Lawton Community Recreation Center in Chevy Chase.

The first phase of the project, competitively awarded to SolarCity, will include the installation of solar panels on libraries, recreation centers, correctional facilities, Department of Environmental Protection Solid Waste Services’ sites and other County buildings, grounds and parking lots.

To expand the amount of clean energy installed in Montgomery County and the State of Maryland, the County government will host more than five and a half megawatts (MW) of solar on County buildings and facilities. The systems will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4,200 metric tons annually, the equivalent of taking 870 cars off the road or planting 100,000 trees. Additional projects are currently being identified. DGS will work with departments to create programming to educate future green technology professionals about the benefits of renewable energy.

For more information about the event go to Solar and Advanced Energy Initiative.

Silver Spring Civic Building Wins Design of Excellence Award

The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, announced the Silver Spring Civic Building as the winner of The Design Excellence Award at the First Annual Design Excellence Award Ceremony held on October 22 at the Silver Spring Civic Building.

Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal and Councilmembers Nancy Floreen and Hans Riemer presented the top award and citations, along with Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson, presented the top award to the Department of General Services director David Dise and his team.

The Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza, located in Downtown Silver Spring, is an event facility that combines modern touches with natural design and provides space for corporate events, private parties, wedding ceremonies, receptions, and more.

For more about the ceremony go to Design Excellent Award Ceremony

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett's Library of the Future Summit

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Montgomery County Public Libraries Director Parker Hamilton presented The Library of the Future Summit on Thursday, September 24.

MC311 Customer Service Center to Staff Executive Office Building Lobby

In an effort to increase access to Montgomery County Government information and services, Montgomery County’s MC311 now staffs the Executive Office Building lobby desk from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday beginning Monday, November 2.

MC311 was launched in June 2010. In August 2012, the hours of operation were extended to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Prior to that, the CSC operated from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The self-service website, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. MC311 remains open extra hours during weather emergencies or other significant incidents.

Since the CSC opened, call volume has averaged 40,000 calls per month. The 311 web portal allows residents to find answers and check on the status of service requests and has consistently averaged 25,000 views per month. MC311 recently created the three-millionth request for service since their launch in 2010. In addition, customers can tweet 311 using @311MC311 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

An Age- Friendly Community Survey

If you're age 55+, we want to hear from you!

This survey recently became available in Spanish, Chinese and Farsi. (The English version also is still available.) Offer your thoughts and ideas about Montgomery County as a place to live and retire. And, if you know others who might like to provide their thoughts, please forward the link to friends, family, and others in your community.

Surveys received by November 13 will be summarized and used in planning the upcoming County Executive’s Summit on Aging which will focus on ways to make Montgomery County an even better “community for a lifetime”.

Recreation Departments to Celebrate Americans with Disabilities Act 25th Anniversary

Montgomery County Recreation, Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and the cities of Rockville and Takoma Park invite the public to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at a free event on Sunday, Nov. 8, from 1 to 3:30 p.m., at the Mid-County Community Recreation Center, 2004 Queensguard Rd., Silver Spring. The event will feature dancing, face painting, crafts, a nature presentation and a special performance by former Harlem Globetrotter Spencer “Spinny” Johnson.

One of the most comprehensive civil rights laws, the ADA promotes fairness, opportunity and complete participation in all aspects of American life for individuals with disabilities. It secures each person's right to independence and enables our society and our economy to benefit from the talents and contributions of all Americans by minimizing obstacles to employment, transportation, public services, telecommunications and public accommodations.

All municipalities in Montgomery County have a long standing commitment to the goals of the ADA. In 1977, 13 years before the ADA was signed, Montgomery County expanded its Human Rights law to include protection against discrimination based on disability. Montgomery County Recreation’s Therapeutic Recreation Team provides accessible leisure, educational and personal development activities for individuals with disabilities through inclusion and adaptive programs. Through activities that include arts, crafts, games, team sports and special events, therapeutic recreation programs help individuals to gain confidence, have fun and make an impact on their lives.

SmartGrowth Projects Provide Economic Opportunities for Future Growth in Montgomery County

The Department of General Services recently updated the Smart Growth Initiative (SGI) website. The new site provides current information and gives a look at County Executive Ike Leggett’s innovative strategies and projects implemented to manage county growth and development. For current information,visit SmartGrowth Initiative.

MCDOT Installs Five More EV Charging Stations in County Garages

The County Transportation Department’s Division of Parking Management has installed electric vehicle charging stations in five more County-owned parking garages. The five locations will each have one station providing service to two parking spaces. In April of this year, three stations servicing six parking spaces were installed in the Bethesda Capital Crescent Garage (Garage 31).

The new locations are: Woodmont Corner Garage (Garage 11) and Waverly Garage (Garage 47) in Bethesda; the Cameron/Second Street Garage (Garage 7) and Kennett Street Garage (Garage 9) in Silver Spring; and the Amherst Garage (Garage 45) in Wheaton.

CONGRESSMAN CHRIS VAN HOLLEN’S 2015 Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB)

Congressman Chris Van Hollen will hold his 13th annual FEHB forums in cooperation with NARFE on Thursday, November 12 in Rockville and Monday, November 23 in Wheaton.

Open Enrollment for Health Insurance Coverage Begins November 1; Affordable Care Act Requires Coverage for Adults 18-64

Open enrollment for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) began Sunday, November 1 and is open until January 31, 2016. Under the ACA, adults age 18 to 64 years of age must have health coverage or will pay a tax penalty.

The Maryland Health Connection is the state’s online insurance marketplace and beginning November 1, eligible Montgomery County residents who need health coverage have three easy ways to enroll.

Enrollment is simple and available 24/7 at:

Montgomery County Public Libraries to Host Traveling Exhibit Saluting Maryland’s Vietnam Veterans

Montgomery County is hosting the Maryland Public Television (MPT) Salutes Vietnam Veterans Traveling Exhibit at the Rockville Library through November 9.

The display features both current day and wartime images of 10 or more men and women along with their recollections of incidents from the war, and opportunities for visitors to craft messages to veterans.

The exhibit will travel around Maryland through next June to celebrate the military service of Marylanders during the Vietnam War. The public is invited to see the display during the library’s scheduled hours.
  • Monday through Thursday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. 
  • Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
  • Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m.

"Smart" Parking Meters that Accept Credit Card Payment to be Installed in Silver Spring Starting Next Week

Beginning this week, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation Parking Management Division will begin replacing more than 1,100 on-street parking meters in Silver Spring with new "smart" parking meter heads that expand payment options. The smart meters accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit cards in addition to coins or pay-by-cell phone. The changeover is expected to take about two weeks, weather permitting. Last year, the County switched Bethesda’s on-street meters.

The parking meters use a solar-powered battery system with a highly visible expiration time indicator. The meters have real-time communication capabilities, which allow web-based identification of broken meters and instant processing of credit card transactions that use the highest level of security. Information in the meter window displays parking rates, hours and days when payment is required, and notes parking restrictions.

The County expects to eventually replace all on-street meters in the County’s other two parking districts in Wheaton and Montgomery Hills and is also assessing the best options for upgrading meters in lots and parking garages.

More information about parking in Montgomery County is available on the Division of Parking's website.

Visit Montgomery Announces Hospitality Award Winners

Visit Montgomery. Montgomery County’s official tourism website, announced its award winners for the 2016 Hospitality Awards at the Annual Meeting and Hospitality Awards Luncheon on October 16 at the Bethesda Marriott.

The leadership award was named after William E. Hanna Jr., a former Montgomery County Council president and fixture in County politics. Hanna passed away in 2011 at the age of 89, and left behind a legacy with the Visit Montgomery organization. In 1994, he introduced legislation that provided for a 3.5 percent allocation of hotel tax collections to the then named Conference and Visitors Bureau of Montgomery County. He was successful in getting this legislation passed and was always a big supporter and cheerleader for the organization.

For more information on all of the award winners, view press release.

Civil War Trust Presents Animated Map of the Entire Civil War

The Civil War Trust has a new video called The Entire Civil War Animated Maps. The new video features never before seen footage of the 1938 Blue & Gray Reunion. The collection of animated maps brings the battles of the American Civil War to life. The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation of Civil War battlefields.

Montgomery Parks Maryland Emancipation Day Celebrations

Montgomery Parks will celebrate Maryland Emancipation Day during the weekend of November 6 - 8 at historic sites throughout the County. Hike on the Underground Railroad, tour 1800s log cabins, visit a museum dedicated to the legacy of slavery, enjoy living history demonstrations and eat great food. Park events on Saturday and Sunday are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. For more information visit

Montgomery County Legal Immigration Service Providers Directory Available

The Office of Community Partnerships (OCP) has recently prepared an immigration service directory which provides information on legal service providers in Montgomery County including intake times, costs, and contact information.

Executive Office Building Lobby Entrances Shift Due to Construction

Effective November 2 and continuing until September 1, 2016 the EOB Lobby Level entrance will exit to Monroe Street only. Access to the Circuit Court from the EOB Lobby Level will be closed to allow for removal and replacement of the existing sidewalk, planters and plaza area. The Circuit Court can still be accessed from the EOB Terrace Level entrance. The stairwell adjacent to the EOB elevators will remain open as an emergency exit only due to construction activity taking place nearby.