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.