September 15, 2015

Silver Spring Transit Center to Open September 20

On Sunday, September 20, Metro will open the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit Center. This new transit center is located next to the Silver Spring Red Line Metrorail station and features more than 30 bus bays serving Metrobus, Montgomery County Ride On, VanGo and the University of Maryland shuttle.

The fully ADA-accessible Transit Center is three levels with a number of new customer amenities including real-time bus departure information, public restrooms, water fountains, escalators, bike racks/lockers, and enhanced neighborhood map displays. Kiss-and-Ride spaces will be available on Level 3, accessible from Bonifant Street.

For more information about the Transit Center, visit the website.

Purple Line Presentation and Informational Open House

The public is invited to attend a presentation by the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) regarding recent scope changes to the Purple Line project. The meeting will be held on Thursday, September 17 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place. The Purple Line is a proposed light rail line that will run from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George’s County. The presentation by MTA will begin promptly at 7 p.m. and will be followed by an open house, during which attendees will have an opportunity to discuss project changes with staff.

A detailed list of the scope changes can be found at

Library of the Future Summit: Public Invited to Speak Up, Share Thoughts

The public has a unique opportunity to help determine the shape, tone, function, look, contents, programs and services of libraries in Montgomery County for years to come by participating in the County Executive’s Library of the Future Summit to be held September 24 at the Silver Spring Civic Building from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In a new feature of this summit, the morning portion of the program at the Silver Spring Civic Building will use “Google Hangout on Air” live to the Gaithersburg Library at 18330 Montgomery Village Ave., providing an opportunity for feedback from an audience in another part of the County.

Registration is required for in person attendance at either location. Registration will close on September 19. Register here for either site.

For those who cannot attend in person, other ways to participate are:
  • Participate online from any location at #MCPLFuture.
  • Share comments, questions and ideas on Twitter (#MCPLFuture) and Facebook.
For more information and details, call 240-777-0002 or visit MCPL website.

Report Shows Maryland’s Solar Power Capacity Grew 50 Percent Last Year

Montgomery County’s Solar Permits Tripled from FY14 to FY15

Montgomery County processed an estimated 545 solar permits in FY14, and in FY15 more than 1,582 permits were processed. This represents three times the number of solar permits issued from one year to the next.

A new report from Environment Maryland shows per capita solar power capacity grew 50 percent in Maryland last year. The report states that the growth brings Maryland to 12th in the nation for total solar power capacity per person. Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner, who chairs the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, joined representatives of Environment Maryland at a news conference on September 3 to reveal the results of the study.

The report, Lighting the Way III: The Top States that Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2014, shows that while every state in the country gets enough sun to meet its energy needs many times over, the states that ranked the highest for solar per capita were those with policies that encourage increasing numbers of homeowners, businesses, communities and utilities to “go solar.”

“Public policy makes a huge difference in driving the solar revolution,” said Berliner, sponsor of dozens of environmental initiatives. “Our state has strong policies and our County has strong policies and those policies are paying big dividends."

“Montgomery County is committed to implementing sustainability practices in new and existing buildings,” said David Dise, director of Montgomery County’s Department of General Services, the County’s lead agency on its initiatives to green its operations. “Clean energy solutions such as solar help us achieve climate protection goals, lower the cost of energy and contribute to the creation of new jobs. This commitment to clean energy is clearly demonstrated by a current project to install photovoltaic systems generating at least six megawatts or enough electricity to power 550 homes. This project coincides with a recent White House initiative promoting the installation of solar energy.”

County Executive’s Transit Task Force to Host Public Forum

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett’s Transit Task Force will host a public forum on Wednesday, September 30 at 6 p.m. in the Council Office Building, Third Floor Hearing Room, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville. Members of the public are invited to attend and provide comment on the Public Draft of the Report of the Task Force. The Public Draft is available online at the Transit Task Force website.

Earlier this year, the Transit Task Force was reconvened to review the prior legislation and recommend how best to organize and finance implementation of a high-performance bus rapid transit system. The system is contained in the Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan, which was approved by the County Council in late 2013.

Members of the public wishing to speak at the forum must sign up between September 16 and September 30. To register to speak, call 240-777-7165, Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.; TTY users call Maryland Relay.

A maximum of 50 people will be able to present their views during the public forum. Speakers will have three minutes to make their comments and are encouraged to submit written remarks – which may include additional information and materials. If 50 people sign up before September 30, no additional names will be accepted and there will not be a waiting list. Those who are unable to testify can submit written comments to the “Contact Us” portion of the Task Force web page between Wednesday, September 16 and Tuesday, October 6, 2015.

The objective of the Task Force is to complete a draft report and possibly propose state legislation. After receiving and considering public input on the Public Draft of the Report of the Task Force, the Transit Task Force will submit its final report.

Choose Montgomery

Watch the YouTube video that highlights local small businesses in Montgomery and why they chose Montgomery County to establish and grow their businesses.

From HonestTea and WeddingWire in Bethesda to Zane Networks in Silver Spring, and many more, hear how these businesses chose Montgomery County and why they plan on staying in this County. Visit

Department of Veterans Affairs has Begun Location Search for Outpatient Clinic in Montgomery County

U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both D-MD), Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has begun searching for a location in Montgomery County for a new Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC). While the VA’s goal is for no veteran to be more than 30 minutes from medical care, many of Montgomery County’s veterans face a much longer drive to reach the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The VA’s search is a promising sign that after years of delay, veterans in the region will have access to the quality care they deserve.

“I am very pleased to hear that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is planning to open a Community-Based Outpatient Clinic here in Montgomery County,” said Leggett. “In 2008, I established the Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs to give our veterans a voice in how the County can best serve them, and they said having services here in the County is a priority. Thanks to Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski for making it happen.”

The VA is searching for space to lease in the area of Rockville and Gaithersburg. Of the more than 44,600 veterans living in Montgomery County, more than 10,000 are enrolled in the VA health care system. According to statistics provided by the VA, over 4,000 of these veterans live within easy driving distance of the general area.

Corrections and Rehabilitation Launches “Tablets for Reentry” Project

The Montgomery County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has launched a new pilot program to improve the outcomes for inmates reentering the community. The pilot is being implemented at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility where 30 “Reentry Tablets” have been distributed to inmates. While tablet technology has already entered into correctional education classrooms, this first-of-a-kind pilot program supports a new foundation of contemporary corrections by bridging technology with reentry services and inmate programs. The pilot is entirely grant-funded through the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention in Maryland with no cost to local taxpayers.

See press release for more information.

Tuesday, September 22 – Online Chat with County Executive Ike Leggett

From 1 to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, September 22, the Executive will respond to questions from residents on topics of interest. A primary focus of this chat will be questions and comments concerning what residents would like to see in future libraries in the way of services, programs, technology, materials collections, etc. Submit questions/comments now or on the 22nd. Library comments and questions will be addressed at the Library of the Future Summit on September 24.

MCPD and Badges for Baseball Continues Winning Streak

It was another winning season for the Montgomery County Police officers and kids who participated in the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation’s “Badges for Baseball.” This sleep-away camp program pairs police officers and at-risk kids during three, week-long sessions at the Foundation’s athletic fields in Aberdeen. The goal, established by the foundation, is “to enhance the relationship between law enforcement and kids in underserved communities across the country using baseball as the hook.” The Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) has been an active participant in the program since 2008. While the officers may provide some baseball playing advice, the coaching for sport skills comes primarily from college baseball and softball players. The officers, who’ve traded their police uniforms for tee shirts and shorts, become caring role models to mentor the kids, teach them teamwork, communication and leadership skills, and help them learn more about the law enforcement profession. This summer the kids met representatives from MCPD SWAT, K-9 and the Alcohol Enforcement Unit. The lessons learned benefit the kids both on and off the ball field and the officers take well-deserved pride in being part of this excellent positive youth development program. To learn more about the Badges for Baseball program.

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month

What’s free and offers infinite opportunities for entertainment, recreation, information and education? A library card!

September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month and staff at Montgomery County Public Libraries encourages residents of all ages who don’t have a card to sign up for one today.

For information on how to sign up for a library card, visit any MCPL branch or apply online at

26th annual Taste of bethesda

Taste of Bethesda returns on Saturday, October 3, from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. and will bring more than 50 restaurants and five stages of entertainment to Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle. Produced by the Bethesda Urban Partnership, downtown Bethesda’s famous food and music festival celebrates 24 years of diverse and delectable cuisine offered by Bethesda’s local restaurant community.

Taste of Bethesda is located on Norfolk, Fairmont, St. Elmo, Cordell and Del Ray Avenues in the heart of Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle. Five stages showcase musical and cultural performances; a children’s area featuring art and craft activities, balloons and face painting will provide additional entertainment for young visitors. More than 35,000 attendees enjoy Taste of Bethesda each year.

Visit the website for more information.

County Celebrates America Recycles Day with Paper Shredding/Recycling Events

In celebration of America Recycles Day 2015, Montgomery County’s Division of Solid Waste Services (DSWS) in the Department of Environmental Protection has announced upcoming paper shredding and recycling events will be held – rain or shine – at three sites around the County. The remaining two events will take place on October 4 at John F. Kennedy High School and November 14 at Northwest High School. America Recycles Day is designated each November 15 to renew recycling efforts and increase recycling awareness in communities across the country.

See press release for more information.

Flipster! The New Way to Access Digital Magazines at MCPL

Flipster, a digital magazine service that allows customers to browse the latest issues of digital versions of popular magazines, has been added to Montgomery County Public Libraries’ (MCPL) digital magazine services. Flipster offers an easy reading experience, allowing users to browse magazines by category, as well as perform searches for specific periodicals. Back issues are also available. In each issue, the table of contents contains links to quickly access articles of interest. There is also an option to zoom in and out for better readability.

See release for more information.

Maker Faire Coming to Silver Spring On September 20

Montgomery County is again teaming up with KID (Kids International Discovery) Museum to host the Silver Spring Maker Faire on Sunday, September 20 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Silver Spring Civic Building, at the corner of Ellsworth Dr. and Fenton St. in downtown Silver Spring. Maker Faire Silver Spring inspires creativity and innovation in all ages and offers free, hands-on activities for young children to adults, while showcasing inventions made by children and professional makers.

See release or visit for more information.

Police Chief J. Thomas Manger Named 2015 Peacemaker of the Year

The Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County (CRCMC) recently named Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger as their 2015 Peacemaker of the Year. That award, along with a 2015 Volunteer of the Year, will be awarded at the organization’s annual Peacemaker Awards Gala Dinner on October 12 at VisArts in Rockville.

The Peacemaker of the Year is an individual, someone outside of CRCMC, who has made Montgomery County a better place through their peacemaking. The Volunteer of the Year, whose name has not yet been announced, is a person who has made a significant contribution to CRCMC’s work.

“Law enforcement officers play an enormous role in minimizing conflicts between the residents of Montgomery County,” said Christopher Page, CRCMC executive director. “Chief Manger is an excellent symbol of the cooperative relationship between the police and the local mediation community in our county,”

The CRCMC is a non-profit organization that provides free conflict resolution services for residents of Montgomery County. To learn more visit website

September 1, 2015

Labor Day Holiday Schedule

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Labor Day on Monday, September 7:
  • County Offices – closed 
  • Libraries – closed
  • County liquor stores – all retail stores are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Recreation – Bethesda, Germantown, Western County, Wheaton/Glenmont and MLK outdoor aquatic facilities will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Olney Indoor Swim Center will be open normal hours; all other indoor aquatic facilities, as well as the Long Branch and Upper County outdoor pools, will be closed. Administrative offices, senior centers and community centers are closed.
  • Montgomery Parks -- most Parks facilities are open during holiday weekend. For operating schedules, 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)

Library of the Future Summit: Public Invited to Speak Up, Share Thoughts

The public can have a unique opportunity to help determine the shape, tone, function, look, contents, programs and services of libraries in Montgomery County for years to come by participating in the County Executive’s Library of the Future Summit to be held September 24 at the Silver Spring Civic Building from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In a new feature of this summit, the morning portion of the program at the Silver Spring Civic Building will use “Google Hangout on Air” live to the Gaithersburg Library at 18330 Montgomery Village Ave., providing an opportunity for feedback from an audience in another part of the County.

Registration is required for in person attendance at either location. Registration will close on September 17. Register here for either site.

For those who cannot attend in person, other ways to participate are:
  • Participate online from any location at #MCPLFuture.
  • Share comments, questions and ideas on Twitter (#MCPLFuture) and Facebook.
  • Submit thoughts via the online feedback form available at MCPL’s Summit website,
For more information and details, visit or call 240-777-0002

Independent Study finds Montgomery County’s Speed-Camera Program Yields Long-Term Safety Benefits and Serves as National Model

A study released on September 1, 2015 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that “Montgomery County’s speed-camera program has led to long-term changes in driver behavior and substantial reductions in deaths and injuries. The IIHS is an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses, deaths, injuries and property damages from crashes on the nation's roads. The study compared speeding in Montgomery County, which began utilizing a Safe Speed automated enforcement program in 2007, to the same time period and similar roads in Fairfax and Arlington counties which do not have speed camera programs.

Comparison safety gains in Montgomery County attributed to the speed-camera program include:
  • 19% reduction of the likelihood that a crash would involve a fatality or an incapacitating injury as reported by police officers at the scene; 
  • 59% reduction of the likelihood of a driver exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 mph; 
  • 39 % reduction of fatal or incapacitating injuries on residential roads with speed limits of 25-35 mph; 
  • 27% reduction of fatal or incapacitating injuries on 40 mph roads as a result of the camera program on roads with limits of 35 mph or less; and 
  • An additional 30% reduction in the likelihood of a crash involving fatal or incapacitating injury was produced by the “Corridor Approach,” which utilizes more than one camera on a stretch of roadway.
Read more about the study in the Washington Post; or view the full report.

Silver Spring Jazz Festival Brings Mix of Sounds to Downtown

Al Chez and the Brothers of Funk Big Band will headline the Silver Spring Jazz Festival on Saturday, September 12, from 3 to 10 p.m. at Veterans Plaza at the Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Pl. (at Ellsworth Dr. and Fenton St.).

Each year, the festival has presented a mix of many jazz genres, including straight ahead, smooth, Latin and other popular jazz forms. This year the festival will offer original eclectic jazz from Al Chez and the Brothers of Funk, smooth jazz from popular local favorite Marcus Johnson, Latin Jazz from Dani Cortaza Latin Jazz Band, swing from the Halley Schoenberg Jazz Sextet and an eclectic mix from Silver Spring’s Jazz Academy of Music.

Attendees are encouraged to use public transportation – the Silver Spring Metro (Red Line) is two blocks away – and to bring folding chairs. Limited parking is available in the Wayne Avenue garage, the Town Square garage, and the garages on Bonifant Street, Cameron at Ramsey Avenue, and Cameron at Fenton.

For more information, call 311 or 240-777-0311 (from outside the County) or see press release.

An Age- Friendly Community Survey

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

Please click on this survey to 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, feel free to forward this link to friends, family, and others in your community.

Results of the survey will be used to plan the upcoming County Executive's Summit on Aging in Montgomery County, which will focus on ways to make Montgomery County an even better "community for a lifetime."

Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

On Saturday, September 26 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Montgomery County law enforcement agencies will be conducting a Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, a safe, free and anonymous opportunity to dispose of unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs.

Drop-off locations throughout Montgomery County will accept prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications only. Liquids, illicit drugs, needles, sharps and syringes cannot be accepted as part of the take-back program.

Officers will staff collection boxes in the parking lots or in the lobbies of selected facilities. See the list in the news release.

September is National Preparedness Month: Don’t wait, Communicate!

The Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) reminds residents that September is National Preparedness Month. Every year, emergencies affect millions of people globally, causing injuries, fatalities, economic losses and emotional stress. However, simple emergency planning and preparedness can greatly decrease losses.

This year’s theme of “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today” emphasizes taking action now to be prepared for eventual emergencies. Planning strategies should be in place for family and pets, as well as the workplace and the greater community.

See the list of tips and links to more information from press release.

“Money Magazine” Names Damascus Among America’s Top 50 Best Places to Live

Perhaps no surprise to many who call Damascus home or who grew up there and now reside elsewhere, but Money Magazine made it official and ranked Damascus among the Top 50 Best Places to Live in 2015.

The town in northeastern Montgomery County, close to the border with Frederick County, ranked in 31st place. It is described by writer Daniel Bortz as being “…on the quiet side, perhaps because more than one-third of the population is over 50. But Damascus knows how to make some noise when it wants to.”

Other Maryland small cities making the grade, are North Laurel (#23) in Howard County and nearby Urbana, in Frederick County (#35).

Restaurant Week Debuts in Silver Spring September 8-13

Many of Silver Spring’s top restaurants will be joining efforts Sept. 8-13 to start a new “Silver Spring Restaurant Week” tradition.

Participating restaurants will offer special lunch and dinner fixed-price menus throughout the week to encourage residents from around the County to discover some of the area’s best dining establishments. Two-course lunches will be available for $12 and three-course lunches for $17. Two-course dinners will be available for $17 with three-course dinners offered at $27.

Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker, who represents Council District 5 that includes Downtown Silver Spring, initiated the effort to have Silver Spring restaurants unite for the special week.

Read more in the news release.

Hike, bike, roll, stroll, run, ride…. got trails?

Montgomery Parks is hosting a Public Meeting on September 16 about the future of trails in the system. The meeting will be held at M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks Shady Grove Maintenance Yard Training Room, 16641 Crabbs Branch Way, Rockville, beginning at 7 p.m. Enter under the green awning.

Trails are among the most popular features we provide to the public. Parks staff has been working on revising the Countywide Park Trails Plan and will share ideas about future updates, including the proposed addition of a “Loops and Links” system.

The amendment aims to improve service to customers by connecting countywide park trails to regional and recreational parks, as well as other major destinations such as commercial/employment centers and metro stations.

For more information, visit

Friendship Picnic: Cultural Sharing Among Diverse Communities

The County’s Committee on Hate/Violence and the Office of Human Rights will host the Third Annual “Friendship Picnic” on Sunday, September 20, from 1 to 5 p.m., at Wheaton Regional Park, 2000 Shorefield Rd. The event brings together diverse communities to share their cultures, traditions and faiths. Food, beverages and entertainment for the entire family will be provided.

For more information, visit or County calendar.

Department of Liquor Control Featured in News Story for Continuing Tobacco Enforcement Efforts

Montgomery County’s Tobacco Enforcement Program in the Department of Liquor Control (DLC) was recently featured in a news story on NBC Channel 4. The County was praised for its efforts to enforce underage tobacco sales and display violations, even though the program is no longer funded by the State.

Under the DLC Tobacco Enforcement Program, a trained volunteer under the age of 18 is sent into a licensed business to purchase tobacco products using their own vertical, underage driver’s license. The program aims to reduce sales of tobacco to minors and enforce tobacco product placement laws. Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Specialists employed by the DLC, issue civil citations to retail cigarette license holders and their clerks for underage sales and display violations, and testify in District Court regarding the citations.

Compliance Check Reports, including tobacco checks, are posted on the DLC website.

“Vital Living Networker” Guide Now on County’s Senior Website

The Vital Living Networker (pdf) is now available on Montgomery County’s senior website.

It’s accessible from the left-hand navigation bar on each page of the site. The Networker is a comprehensive online guide to living with vitality in the county for the plus 50 crowd, and replaces the original print version which was known as the Navigator.

The Networker covers the following topics: Libraries · Educational opportunities · Recreation & fitness · Volunteerism · Employment · Housing and · Transportation

Homeland Security Official, Former County Attorney to be Honored at Hispanic Gala

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services Director León Rodríguez will receive the 2015 "Public Service Award" at the Montgomery County Executive Hispanic Gala (MCEHG) at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Thursday, September 10.

Rodríguez was the County Attorney for Montgomery County from 2007 to 2010 before moving to the federal level.

“He is a champion advocating for human rights, and during his tenure as USCIS Director, he has forged meaningful community partnerships to help permanent residents learn more about the citizenship and naturalization process," said Lorna Virgilí, MCEHG founder.

Funds raised by the gala support the Maryland Hispanic Achievement Scholarship Program that provides financial assistance to scholars enrolled in Maryland higher learning institutions.

To become a sponsor, donate or purchase tickets, visit