June 30, 2015

Leggett Heartened by Governor’s Purple Line Announcement

Following Governor Larry Hogan’s announcement on June 25 that he would “be moving forward” with some funding for the 16-mile light rail Purple Line from Bethesda to New Carrollton, County Executive Ike Leggett issued the following response:

“I am heartened by the Governor’s decision today.

“I look forward to further discussions with the Governor over every aspect of the Purple Line – cost, design, construction schedule, and the role Montgomery County will be able to play in making the Purple Line a reality.

“Enabling people to move around the Washington, D.C. Metro area is extremely important to our overall quality of life. It is important for us to continue to invest in new businesses that create jobs and grow our tax base. Montgomery County benefits. Prince George’s County benefits. And, the State of Maryland really benefits.

“That’s the message I recently delivered to Governor Larry Hogan when I met with him to further discuss the need to build the Purple Line.

“That is what I believe the Purple Line is all about.”

Read the Purple Line Preliminary Economic Impact Study Part 1: Update  and the Purple Line Preliminary Economic Impact Study Part 2: Update.

County’s Holiday Schedule and Fireworks for Independence Day

County residents don’t have to go far to enjoy traditional fireworks celebrations on the Fourth. Mid-County Sparkles and Germantown Glory are presenting evenings of entertainment, family fun and, of course, fireworks.

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Independence Day on Friday, July 3 (observed):
  • County Offices – closed
  • Libraries – closed
  • County liquor stores – open (open on July 4, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.)
  • Recreation – all indoor and outdoor aquatic facilities will be open as scheduled; on July 4 the Germantown Indoor Swim Center will close at 3 p.m., all other aquatic facilities will close at 6 p.m.; swim lessons will meet as scheduled; administrative offices, senior centers and community recreation centers will be closed
  • Montgomery Parks -- most Parks facilities are open during holiday weekend. For operating schedules, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org
  • Ride On – Saturday schedule
  • Metrobus – Saturday schedule (Saturday supplemental on July 4)
  • Metrorail – Saturday schedule (special service on July 4)
  • TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) – closed
  • Refuse/recycling pickup – regular collection (no collection on Saturday, July 4*)
  • Transfer Station – open (closed on Saturday, July 4)
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
  • MCPS Administrative Offices – closed
  • State offices and courts – closed
*There will not be a “slide;” regular collection services will be provided the week before and after the holiday.

Residents Encouraged to Make this a “Summer of Safety”

To help provide residents with essential safety information throughout the summer months, the County has rolled out “Summer of Safety,” a comprehensive educational, social media and online resource of safety and prevention information geared to the season. The goal of the campaign is to improve safety by raising awareness about common summertime risks and provide a County-unified information resource for ways to reduce risks and prevent hazards.

Daily safety message tweets using “#MoCoSafety” are being sent from the Montgomery County and other County departments’ Twitter feeds to alert followers to new safety information that will be added to the Summer of Safety web page from June 22 through August 30.

Those without access to -- or who prefer not to use -- social media, can sign up on the Summer of Safety web page for weekly email delivery of the safety tips.

The tips focus on safety issues that affect everyone and are related to: pedestrians, swimming pool use, summer storms, picnics and cook-outs, 4th of July, preventing Lyme disease, life-saving methods such as CPR and other topics. Every Monday, the campaign will introduce new safety topic messages and post any “this-just-in” safety and event information based on what’s going on in the news.

Fourth of July, the first holiday of the official summer season is coming up. Opportunities for weekend partying abound. The Summer of Safety tips really sparkle with what you need to know to stay safe regarding fireworks, grilling, picnicking and making sure your second-story deck can hold a partying crowd.

Silver Spring Library Opens with Fanfare, Large Turnout

See 'photo slider' above.

Downtown Silver Spring’s latest landmark – the new Silver Spring Library – opened on June 20 to a steady stream of 3,960 customers and visitors between noon and 6 p.m., many of whom did more than just check out the building – they checked out materials; too, 4,380 items to be exact.

The ribbon cutting ceremony drew a crowd of approximately 500 persons of all ages. As word spread around the area, the hashtag #900Wayne took 16th place in the Top 20 of Washington's Trends for Saturday, June 20.

Located at the intersection of Wayne Ave. and Fenton St. (900 Wayne Ave.), the County’s newest urban library occupies about 63,000 gross square feet on the top three floors of the approximately 90,000 gross square foot structure.

Kefa Café, a Silver Spring-based coffee house/eatery serving gourmet, organic, fair trade coffee, pastries and sandwiches, is on the first floor by the Fenton Street entrance near the escalators.

The third floor is the entry floor to the library portion of the building with access provided from both the Wayne Ave. and Fenton St. entrances.

Read more details in the news release or stop by the library and see its many features for yourself. The library is open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.

2015: Year of the Veteran in Montgomery County

By proclaiming 2015 as the Year of the Veteran and Their Families, County officials are encouraging all residents to honor veterans and their families for their courage and sacrifice.

Download a copy of the proclamation (pdf). To request an alternative format of the proclamation, call 240-777-1246 (V), MD Relay 711.

"Honor and Gratitude: A Salute to Montgomery County's Vietnam Veterans" will be held on October 24 at The Universities of Shady Grove, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The event will honor and thank Vietnam Veterans, Vietnam Era Veterans, Gold Star wives and mothers and significant others. Sponsored by the Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs in partnership with Montgomery County Media and the County Council.

To check on updates about the event, visit the Veterans’ Affairs homepage.

Be a Hero this Summer…READ!

Every hero has a story, and children (birth to 12 years old) and teens (ages 13 through 17) – can learn about heroes and a variety of other subjects during Montgomery County Public Libraries’ (MCPL) Summer Reading program from now through August 9.

Each branch will host free programs, such as magic shows, live animals and music, with many of the programs focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). The programs are sponsored by the Friends of the Library, Montgomery County Inc.; local chapters of the Friends of the Library; and MCPL.

To ensure all children and teens can participate, any overdue fines on their library accounts can be reduced by reading and then earning “Library Bucks.” More information about this program is available at each MCPL branch.

To register, just visit any of the 21 branches or sign up on MCPL’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library.

Butterflies are Back at Brookside

Brookside Gardens has announced the return of its popular seasonal Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly and Caterpillar exhibit featuring hundreds of live butterflies from all over the world.

The exhibit is open from now to October 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Fee: $8, ages 13 and up; $5, ages 3-12; Free, ages 0-2

Get more information about the exhibit.

Paper, Paper and…the Most Paper (and People) Ever

The figures are in and they show that the latest paper shredding and recycling event hosted by Montgomery County, Montgomery College, NBC4, Allstate and Shred-It, held on June 20 at Montgomery College, Rockville campus, was the largest, most successful event of its type to date.

According to figures from the Division of Solid Waste Services (DSWS), the event:

  • served 3,308 cars;
  • shredded and recycled about 42 tons of paper;
  • recycled nearly 5 tons of cardboard boxes; and
  • was supported by 29 volunteers.

Missed this event? Sign up for our paper shredding updates and reminders to be among the first to know about future shredding and recycling opportunities.

DSWS thanks everyone in the record-setting crowd who helped us recycle more and set a record in the process.

See more.

Homeland Security Secretary Attends Session on County’s Model on Social Cohesion, Public Safety

Officials attending were (from left): Rev. Mansfield Kaseman, Interfaith community liaison in the Office of Community Partnerships; County Executive Ike Leggett; Police Chief Tom Manger; Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson; David Gersten, CVE coordinator for DHS; an Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties for DHS; and Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi, WORDE founder and president. 
County Executive Ike Leggett recently welcomed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to a meeting at the International Cultural Center in Montgomery Village to hear about the County’s model for achieving social cohesion and public safety developed through the Faith Community Working Group (FCWG) in partnership with the World Organization for Research Development and Education (WORDE). The model is being promoted across the country, and representatives from 34 countries have come to study it. Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi, founder and president of WORDE, has spoken on it in Canada, Denmark and England.

Attended by 120 persons, the meeting, was an opportunity for community stakeholders to demonstrate both the dynamic relationships fostered through the establishment of the FCWG and the community’s commitment to collaborating with local and federal government officials to discuss ways to improve public safety.

County Earns National Gold Excellence Award for Integrated Solid Waste Management System, Programs and Facilities to Manage Waste, Recycling

The Division of Solid Waste Services (Department of Environmental Protection) has earned the Gold Excellence Award in the Integrated Solid Waste Management Systems category from the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA).

The annual Excellence Awards Program recognizes outstanding solid waste programs and facilities that demonstrate environmentally and economically sound solid waste management practices. The award-winning programs and facilities use effective technologies and processes, safeguard health and safety, and include successful public education and outreach programs.

The County’s integrated solid waste management system consists of: 
  • interrelated programs that promote waste reduction and recycling; 
  • a full range of brick-and-mortar facilities -- including a recycling center, transfer station, household hazardous waste center, yard trim composting facility and a resource recovery facility; and 
  • a combination of modern collection services and top-quality customer service focus.
Read more in the news release.

Montgomery County Public Libraries Selected to Manage Maryland’s Deaf Culture Digital Library

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) has been selected by the Maryland State Division of Library Development and Services (MS-DLDS) as the site of the State’s Deaf Culture Digital Library (DCDL).

The groundwork to formalize the foundation of the Deaf Culture Digital Library will take place in 2016, beginning with formation of the DCDL Advisory Board. The Division of Library Development and Services will begin taking applications for membership on the Board in the fall.

The Deaf Culture Digital Library will be staffed with a full-time coordinator and an assistant. Additional details will be announced as they become available during the months ahead.

To learn more, see the final report to the Governor on the Deaf Culture Digital Library at: http://tinyurl.com/o3dcb7o.

For more information about the Deaf Culture Digital Library, contact Susan Cohen at 301-637-2964 or Irene Padilla, 410-767-0444.

New WSSC Chair from Montgomery County

Adrienne Mandel of Montgomery County has been elected as the new chair of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC). Mandel has represented the County on the Commission since 2007. Her term lasts until June 2016.

Mandel succeeds Omar Boulware, who will continue on as a Commissioner representing Prince George’s County. Chris Lawson, also a Commissioner from Prince George’s County, was elected vice chair. Boulware joined the Commission in November 2013, while Lawson was appointed in 2011.

More details in the news release.

White Oak Senior Center Honored for Golden Award Ceremony

Montgomery County Recreation’s White Oak Senior Center recently received the Maryland Association of Senior Centers (MASC) Program Award at the MASC annual meeting.

The award recognizes the White Oak Senior Center’s Annual Golden Award Ceremony, a special event created to honor and celebrate all of the program participants who regularly visit the center. Participants are honored in a variety of categories including, “Most Congenial,” “Most Inspiring” and “Member of the Year.”

Read the news release.

June 16, 2015

Celebrate Independence Day with Family, Fun and Fireworks

Montgomery County will again host two Independence Day fireworks displays on July 4 -- Germantown Glory at the Maryland SoccerPlex in the South Germantown Recreational Park, 18041 Central Park Circle, Germantown (Boyds) and Mid-County Sparkles at Albert Einstein High School, 11135 Newport Rd., Kensington. Both fireworks displays will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m.

Germantown Glory will kick off at 7 p.m. with a concert by the Tina Turner Revue featuring Suzette Dorsey. To reach the South Germantown Recreational Park from I-270, take exit 15B (Route 118 south) toward Germantown; go approximately two and a half miles and turn right on Richter Farm Rd. Go one mile and turn left onto Schaeffer Road. The park entrance is 0.3 miles on the right. Free parking is available.

Mid-County Sparkles activities begin at 7:30 p.m. with a concert by Gringo Jingo performing the best of Santana. Since there will only be handicapped parking – no other on-site parking will be available at the school or at adjacent properties – two shuttle bus stops are available, beginning at 6:15 p.m., at Westfield Wheaton Metro Parking Garage adjacent to the JC Penney Department Store and the north building parking lot adjacent to Macy’s Department Store.

Check the news release for more information.

Other traditional celebrations will be held in larger municipalities around the County, including Gaithersburg, Rockville and Takoma Park.

Public Forum on Best Ways to Push Forward with a County Rapid Transit System

The Montgomery County Executive’s Transit Task Force will host a public forum on Wednesday, June 17 at 6 p.m. in the County Council’s Third Floor Hearing Room, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, where residents will express their views on subjects before the Transit Task Force. The group has been reconvened to review the prior legislation and recommend how best to organize and finance implementation of a high-performance Rapid Transit System (RTS).

As of the release time of this edition of the newsletter, the list of speakers totaled more than 50 people of diverse viewpoints.  No more speakers are being accepted, but residents can submit their views in writing at Transit 2015 Contact Us.

To help residents understand the importance of a Rapid Transit System and how it can help re- shape the future of transportation in the County, consider the following benefits RTS will provide for riders:
  • Speedy transit often in dedicated road lanes;
  • Frequent runs along busy routes;
  • Quick passenger boarding via wide doors and no steps;
  • Sheltered stations; real-time schedules; and
  • Reduced carbon footprint (fewer cars).
Other advantages include:
  • RTS can be built more quickly and cheaply than other options to reduce traffic congestion. RTS can be built for one-fourth of the cost of light rail, one-eighth of the cost of new highways and one-fifteenth of the cost of heavy rail, e.g., Metro.
  • RTS can connect more people to more jobs. With RTS in place, an estimated 100,000 new jobs and up to $26 billion in economic growth can be expected by 2030.
  • RTS will enable more people to commute to/from work in a shorter amount of time. This would help many commuters, including those in poverty, as commuting time has been found to be the strongest factor in the odds of people escaping poverty.
  • A system that can mitigate road congestion and improve transit options benefits everyone.
Read The Washington Post editorial.

For more about County’s Rapid Transit System, visit the Transit Authority website.

The public hearing will be aired live on County Cable Montgomery -- channel 6 for Comcast and RCN subscribers and channel 30 for Verizon customers. It will also be streamed live and be available for on-demand viewing after the event.

County Has Lowest Unemployment Rate in Seven Years

The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR) and the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics have reported that Montgomery County's unemployment rate in April 2015 was 3.7 percent, marking the first time it has been below 4 percent since December 2008, when it was 3.8 percent. The last time the rate was at 3.7 percent was in October and November 2008.

Montgomery and Howard County tied for the lowest rates in Maryland.

The Department of Economic Development (DED) has numerous services, resources and initiatives to help local businesses succeed. For more information on business opportunities within the County go to DED’s website.

Silver Spring Summer Outdoor Concert Series Begins June 18

The 2015 Silver Spring Summer Concert Series, presented by Montgomery County Recreation, will kick off on Thursday, June 18 at 7 p.m. on Veterans Plaza at the Silver Spring Civic Building, Ellsworth Dr. and Fenton St.

The free, outdoor concerts, sponsored by Discovery Communications and Live Nation, feature a wide range of music and musicians for the whole family. They will be held on Thursday evenings through August 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. Performances are cancelled due to weather only if it is raining at 7 p.m.

A raffle, with prizes for children and adults, is held at each concert. Attendees may bring picnics or get food from one of the many nearby restaurants.

For more information, call 311 or 240-777-0311 outside of the County.

Community Public Paper Shredding, Recycling Event to be Held June 20

Montgomery County, Montgomery College, NBC4, Allstate and Shred-It are once again providing County residents the opportunity to have confidential papers shredded, then recycled.

The latest paper shredding event will be held Saturday, June 20 from 8 to 11 a.m. in parking lot 13 of Montgomery College, Rockville campus, at the intersection of Hungerford Dr. (Rt. 355) and Mannakee St.

See more information on what types of papers to bring, onsite driving directions, etc.

Experience, Explore, Enjoy the County’s Heritage

Thanks to Heritage Montgomery, 21st- century families can experience and explore the County’s rich past at the 18th Annual Heritage Days Weekend to be held Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28 from noon to 4 p.m.

Heritage Days Weekend features more than 35 sites all around Montgomery County representing the history, culture, and natural beauty of the area.

Visit the 93,000-acre Agricultural Reserve and find rural roads and landscapes looking much as they did in the 19th and early 20th centuries; hear stories of the Underground Railroad and early Quaker communities of the 1800s; explore the C&O Canal along the Potomac River…the possibilities go on and on, and it’s all right here, close to home.

Plus, all events are family-friendly and free.

Check the flyer for more information or visit www.HeritageMontgomery.org.

Notice to Capital Crescent Trail Users

Several improvement projects are on their way on the Capital Crescent Trail that will affect access and regular use of the trail. Montgomery Parks and a private firm will perform ongoing tree work on the Capital Crescent Trail from Dorset Ave. to Woodmont Ave. throughout June. The work should not limit trail access, however, trail users are urged to use caution around work areas.

Also, a portion of the Capital Crescent Trail just south of Bethesda Ave. will be closed for about two weeks to allow for trail improvements that are a part of the Lot 31-apartment building construction project, the Flats. Trail users will be directed onto a detour along a new public pathway. Pedestrians will be able to access to sidewalks on Woodmont Ave., and bicyclists will be able to use the newly marked bike lanes.

For additional information on the scheduled projects, visit www.MontgomeryTrails.org or call 301-495-2595.

Save Money with Ride On’s Youth Passes – in Summer Months or Year Round

Montgomery County youth ages five to 18 can take unlimited Ride On trips this summer by purchasing a Youth Summer Pass from Montgomery County Ride On. The summer pass costs $18 and is valid now through August 31.

Another option is the Youth Monthly pass which provides unlimited trips on Ride On for just $11 per calendar month. Both passes provide a significant saving over regular fares.

All Ride On youth passes are loaded onto the Youth Cruiser SmarTrip® card. If a youth doesn’t already have one, riders or their parents must purchase the Youth SmarTrip® card for $2, in person. Proof of age (e.g., copy of birth certificate, state ID or passport) and proof of County residence are required. A full list of participating retail outlets is available online.

More information on the youth programs, including the list of places that sell passes and cards, is available online.

Ride On schedules, fares and information about Ride On Real Time are available on the Ride On web site. You can subscribe to get email notices, follow Ride On on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Capital Improvements Program Budget Forums in June and July

Public forums will be held in June and July to receive input from residents for the County’s next six-year capital construction budget.

The forums, hosted by local citizens advisory boards around the County, help define construction and planning priorities for the various regions in the County as officials begin to develop the Fiscal Years 2017 -- 2022 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) budget.

The CIP includes costs for new or renovated major projects such as roads, public schools, Montgomery College facilities, water and sewer lines, parks, libraries, health and recreation facilities, and other public buildings and projects.

Suggestions and comments from participants will be considered by the regional citizen advisory boards for inclusion in the funding priority lists they submit to the County Executive. The lists will also be shared with County departments and agencies for their consideration as they formulate the CIP for their departments.

See the schedule of forums.

Two New Dates for Public Input about Health, Quality of Life Issues

County residents now have two additional opportunities to participate in upcoming community conversations that will give them an opportunity to share their views about how Montgomery County can be a healthier place to live.

The “conversations” will help provide input and feedback to complete a community health needs assessment. Each session will last approximately two hours and refreshments will be served.

The new additional conversations will be held on Wednesday, June 24, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the East County Regional Services Center, 3300 Briggs Chaney Rd., Silver Spring and Thursday, September 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Silver Spring Regional Services Center, 1 Veterans Plaza.

See the complete list of planned conversation events.

Volunteer Spirit is Here Year Round --Try a Summer of Service

It has long been a goal of the Volunteer Center to have residents, businesses and organizations embrace the spirit of volunteerism year round. That goal now is materializing through the efforts and programs of the public and private sectors throughout the County.

For example, employees in the Public Information Office spent a day in May with more than 200 volunteers from the Marriott Corporation and numerous local organizations and governments building a new playground for 30 children residing at Seneca Heights Apartments in Gaithersburg.

Three hundred thirty employees of Discovery’s global headquarters in Silver Spring recently marked Impact Day by volunteering at 10 sites throughout the County. Volunteer contributions ranged from preparing a barbecue for troops at the USO Warrior and Family Center at Walter Reed and decorating pillowcases for children at National Children’s Hospital to helping families in need through A Wider Circle’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program and preparing students for the workforce through Per Scholas.

But projects like these are just the tip of the iceberg, and, there are still plenty of projects and organizations that need help. To learn more about where, when and how to volunteer, check the Volunteer Center website at www.montgomeryserves.org.

“You Only Live Once” Pedestrian Safety Campaign Earns Multiple Awards

The YOLO (You Only Live Once) pedestrian safety campaign aimed at high school students recently won first place in the Promotional Campaigns under $100,000 category, and earned best in show at the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards banquet in Memphis. The campaign is featured on page 80 of the awards banquet presentation. The campaign also won an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties.

The YOLO campaign was created by the Department of Transportation to reduce pedestrian collisions among high school students following the death of 15-year-old Christina Morris-Ward. She was a student at Seneca Valley High School in Germantown, and in October 2012 was struck and killed as she distractedly crossed the street on her way to school. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, about half of students ages 15 to 19 say they use a cell phone when walking to school.

Learn more about YOLO.

County Receives Three Technology Solutions Awards

The Public Technology Institute (PTI) has honored Montgomery County with three 2014-2015 Technology Solutions Awards.

The three programs recognized as award winners by PTI are: “GIS Web Portal,” “Criminal Justice Case Management System” and “Financial Transparency Suite.” See details about each program in the news release.

The awards honor local government technology programs that have demonstrated how governments improve service delivery and/or reduce costs. For the third consecutive year, Montgomery was the only County in the State of Maryland to be recognized as an award winner in PTI’s annual Technology Solutions Awards competition.

PTI is a national technology organization that identifies opportunities for technology research, shares best practices, offers consultancies and pilot demonstrations, and promotes technology development initiatives.