April 25, 2016

Montgomery County Delegation 2016 Session Accomplishments

The 2016 Session was one of the busiest ever, with a record breaking number of bills introduced. Lots of bills passed and progress was made on many policy fronts. However, a number of high profile initiatives did not advance and will be carried over into the 2017 Session as “unfinished business.” The Montgomery County Delegation played a leadership role in numerous budget and legislative matters that will have immediate and longer term positive impacts on our residents and businesses.

For the first time in a number of years, both the operating and capital budget bills were passed early with little fanfare. Overall, State aid directed to Montgomery County will increase by about $38 million, from $721 million to $759 million. This increase is driven almost entirely by mandated State funding to support the costs of delivering K-12 education services and the programs provided by Montgomery College at its three campuses.

Read more at 2016 Montgomery County Delegation Accomplishments

Explore a Path to a Greener Life at Montgomery County’s Second Annual GreenFest

Join your friends and neighbors in celebrating the people and environment of Montgomery County with a fun-filled day of entertainment, community and learning. GreenFest is the County’s largest environmental festival, a dynamic celebration to bring together those dedicated to build a greener, healthier community locally and globally. This free event is scheduled for Saturday, April 30, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Takoma Park Community Center located at 7500 Maple Avenue.

Scheduled highlights of the day will include a welcome from County Executive Ike Leggett and County Councilmembers, remarks by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, musical entertainment, environmental films, electric vehicle show, green scavenger hunt, nearly 100 exhibitors and vendors and more.

The full schedule of special events is available at montgomerycountygreenfest.org. As part of the GreenFest’s commitment to lowering our ecological footprint, the website is designed for mobile usage so festival attendees can view the schedule on their phones rather than printing schedules.

Bus Rapid Transit Open Houses

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation, in partnership with the, Maryland Department of Transportation is conducting a study for developing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along a portion of the MD 355 corridor.

Two public Open Houses will be held to provide information and gather community input about potential BRT service from Bethesda to Clarksburg. At the Open Houses, you will meet the project team and be able to review:
  • BRT elements - how it will work, what it will look like, etc. 
  • The study process and schedule 
  • Existing conditions inventory 
  • Draft of preliminary purpose and need 

Thursday, April 28, 6:30– 8:30 p.m.

Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Cafeteria, 4301 East-West Highway, Bethesda

Tuesday, May 3, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Gaithersburg High School Cafeteria, 101 Education Boulevard, Gaithersburg

Project information can be found at montgomerycountymd.gov/rts.

People Should Not Be Bought and Sold

Human trafficking has been an issue in Montgomery County, in Maryland, nationally and internationally. Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others (Polaris Project). There are generally two forms of trafficking: sex and labor. Victims of human trafficking include men, women, boys and girls. Your next door neighbor may be a victim OR perpetrator of human trafficking.

In 2014, County Executive Ike Leggett created the Montgomery County Human Trafficking Task Force. The purpose of the task force is to increase understanding of the issue in Montgomery County and to develop interagency coordination of strategies for response and prevention. Overarching goals include:

Increasing the identification and prosecution of all parties supporting the organized crime of human trafficking to include traffickers, suppliers, transporters, advertisers and demand elements;

Elimination of human trafficking, and Improving identification of and services for human trafficking victims. Need Help or See Something Suspicious?

Montgomery County Law Enforcement Agencies and Health and Human Services to Participate in U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

County law enforcement agencies and the Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse Prevention Office will be participating in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back day at multiple locations on Saturday, April 30 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. This is a safe, free and anonymous opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by safely disposing of unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs. This initiative is part of a national effort to prevent the increasing problems of prescription drug abuse and theft.

Ride On Food Drive

Ride On is sponsoring its 30th annual Give and Ride Food Drive from April 24 to 30. During this time, Ride On customers who donate a canned or nonperishable food item will receive a free bus ride. All donations go to the non-profit Manna Food Center, which distributes food to the County’s neediest residents. Healthy, single-serve, kid-friendly food items in plastic containers are especially in demand, as are baby food, formula, toddler food, juice and diapers.

All food donations, whether one or more cans, will be valued at the regular fare rate of $1.75. An additional donation is required when transferring to other buses. Residents who do not ride the bus but wish to donate food can participate by giving their donations to a bus operator at any Ride On bus stop. Checks made out to Manna Food Center will also be accepted.

Read more at Ride On Food Drive

May Is Building Safety Month

The Department of Permitting Services (DPS) will observe Building Safety Month (BSM) in May to increase awareness of the importance of building safe and sustainable structures. This year DPS is promoting their new website designforlifemc.org to support the theme of Building Solutions for All Ages. Design for Life offers homeowners and businesses property tax credits for building and renovating homes that will be accessible for everyone.

BSM highlights the work DPS does all year to provide safe and secure communities and contribute to the economic vitality of the County by providing the highest quality of public service while ensuring compliance with Montgomery County’s development and construction standards.

This year’s topic, Building Codes: Driving Growth through Innovation, Resilience and Safety will be supported by weekly themes that spotlight a specific area of building safety and fire prevention:
  • Week One, May 2-8, Building Solutions for All Ages 
  • Week Two, May 9-15, The Science behind the Codes 
  • Week Three, May 16-22, Learn from the Past, Build for Tomorrow 
  • Week Four, May 23-29, Building Codes: A Smart Investment 
DPS is offering free deck maintenance inspections during the month of May to ensure you kick off the summer season with a safe deck. Call 311 or 240-777-0311 to schedule your appointment during the month of May only.

Montgomery Serves Awards

Montgomery County will recognize the extraordinary commitment and dedication of individuals, businesses, community-based organizations, youth and seniors whose work has made a positive difference in the County at the Montgomery Serves Awards. The ceremony will take place at Imagination Stage in Bethesda on Monday, May 2 at 6:30 p.m.

To register for this free event, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2016-montgomery-serves-awards-tickets-21529490285

Poolesville Library Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Pictured left to right: Upcounty Regional Service Center Director Catherine Matthews, Public Libraries Director Parker Hamilton and Poolesville Town Commissioner Jerry Klobukowski.

The Montgomery County Public Libraries Poolesville Library celebrated its 25th Anniversary on Saturday, April 16. Longtime Poolesville Library advocate Maggie Nightingale received a proclamation from County Executive Ike Leggett declaring April 16 as Maggie Nightingale Day.

Taste the World in Fenton Village

Whether you are a food connoisseur or just someone who is looking for good eats and an enjoyable afternoon, the Taste the World in Fenton Village is a perfect option. The event is scheduled for Sunday, May 15 from 1 to 5 p.m.

Located throughout Fenton Village, the Taste the World will showcase the diversity of restaurants just south of downtown Silver Spring and the hard-working entrepreneurs who operate these small businesses. The unique varieties of restaurant offerings and small businesses are a major draw, as is the authentic character of the neighborhood and the adventure of trying new foods and restaurants.

Often called the “hidden gem” of Silver Spring, Fenton Village is an eclectic, diverse community located just south of downtown Silver Spring between Wayne, Georgia and Burlington Avenues and Fenton Street. Event details, maps, and lists of restaurants and sponsors are available at tastetheworld.fentonvillage.org.

Correction Facility Collaboration Leads to Success Story

The Montgomery County Correctional Facility (MCCF) Re-Entry Unit facilitates many activities which provide opportunities for an offender to successfully transition from incarceration back to the community. The MCCF firmly believes that successful reentry is key to reducing recidivism and education programs are often a critical element for a successful return.

The MCCF Re-Entry Unit recently went an extra mile to support Inmate Anton Powell to obtain his General Educational Development (GED) tests and earn a Certificate of High School Equivalency. The successful collaboration, with MCCF staff and community volunteers, is an example of what is possible when a reentry focused system works collaboratively to support success.

Read Powell’s complete GED Success Story

April 11, 2016

Leggett to Council: Reduce Proposed Property Tax Increase

County Executive Ike Leggett amended his 2017 budget to the County Council to reduce his proposed property tax increase by 46 percent following the announcement by Governor Hogan that he will allow to become law a Maryland General Assembly bill that extends the repayment schedule for counties to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Wynne decision.

The legislation, Senate Bill 766, saves Montgomery County $33 million for the upcoming year, reducing the Wynne costs to $17 million. Reducing the property tax increase from 3.9 cents per $100 assessed valuation to 2.1 cents – a 46 percent reduction - brings the County Executive’s proposed average monthly property tax increase down from $27 to $20.17.

Leggett’s initial proposed operating budget included $50 million to cover Wynne case costs. With the State Delegation extension of back payments, the proposed budget has been revised to reflect the savings from the legislation. Click here to see the memo from the County Executive to the County Council.

Seven-Year-Old Everyday Hero Honored for Making the Right Call

Jenna, a seven-year-old girl from Silver Spring, has been hailed a hero for making the right call. Working on a school project, Jenna went into another room to get markers when she found her father lying unconscious on the floor. Recognizing that her father needed immediate assistance, Jenna was brave enough to call 911.

On March 30, Fire Chief Scott Goldstein praised Jenna for her quick thinking, calm demeanor and for remembering her home address as she made the potentially lifesaving 911 call. Goldstein presented Jenna with a medal and plaque in recognition of her outstanding effort.

Following the recognition, Jenna was able to meet the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) call taker/dispatcher, Amanda Poore, who took Jenna’s 911 call and stayed on the line with the child until emergency workers arrived.

More on this at MCFRS Story and http://wjla.com/features/good-morning-washington/7-year-old-honored-for-contacting-911-during-emergency

April is National 9-1-1- Education Month. Read more to learn about how to be prepared to use the 9-1-1 system to get help in an emergency.

Bethesda and Rockville Ranked #2 and #3 As Best Cities for Active Retirement

SmartAsset, a financial website has given high ratings to Bethesda and Rockville as retirement communities, ranking them among the best in the nation.

Bethesda ranks #2 and Rockville ranks #3 in a survey conducted by SmartAsset of the best 25 cities in the U.S. for an active retirement. To compile its list, SmartAsset said it analyzed census data on two principal features of U.S. cities: overall retirement friendliness and compatibility with an active lifestyle.

The list highlights the benefits of an active retirement, promoting physical activities as a way to prevent heart disease and allow retirees to pursue life-long leisure passions such as golf or hiking. For more about the rankings or to see the other top cities go to SmartAsset.

Montgomery al Día” celebrates its 200th Episode

“Montgomery al Día” (Montgomery Today), celebrated its 200th Episode on Tuesday, April 5 during a live radio transmission.

“Montgomery al Día” is nationally recognized as an innovative and effective program implemented by the Office of Public Information. “Montgomery al Día” airs Tuesday at 2 p.m. on Radio América 1540AM. In addition, the live radio show has a television component which is recorded live-on-tape and is shown on a rotating schedule on County Cable Montgomery.

The show’s focus is to keep the County’s Hispanic community informed about all County programs and services so they can have easier access to register, participate and engage with local government.

In light of its success, the Office of Public Information has expanded the "Montgomery al Día" program with prime daily news, public service announcements and a weekly agenda during the morning show "Calentando la Mañana" (Warming Up the Morning), the longest-running talk radio show, established in 1987.

“Montgomery al Día” is hosted by Lorna Virgilí from the Office of Public Information. View the most recent episode at http://montgomerycountymd.gov/CCM/montgomeryaldia.html

One-Stop Fair Housing Shop Education Forum Offers Housing Information

The County Office of Human Rights/Interagency Fair Housing Coordinating Group with support from the County Department of Housing and Community Affairs will offer a free housing educational forum called the One Stop Fair Housing Shop. The event is scheduled for April 25, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Silver Spring Civic Building, 1 Veteran’s Plaza.

Topics for the fair will include disability and reasonable accommodations provisions, common ownership community requirements, current regulations and legal updates, landlord-tenant issues and more.

Free lunch is provided. Advance registration is requested by April 22 by calling Anis Ahmed at 240-777-8454. Register Online.

The Donohoe Companies Moves Headquarters, 240 Jobs to Maryland

The Donohoe Companies, one of the region’s oldest family-owned commercial real estate companies, is relocating its corporate headquarters as well as its construction, real estate, hospitality, and development divisions from Washington, D.C. to Maryland.

The 132-year old company signed a lease for office space along Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, and stated it will move 240 employees to Maryland later this year. It plans for continued job growth companywide.

The Donohoe Companies, Inc. encompasses five companies with more than 1,400 employees: Donohoe Construction Company, Donohoe Real Estate Services, Donohoe Hospitality Services, Donohoe Development Company and Complete Building Services, which will remain headquartered in the District of Columbia. Through these five companies, the Donohoe team provides comprehensive commercial real estate services throughout the Washington-Baltimore region, with projects to include hospitals, universities, government facilities, embassies, historic landmarks, hotels, retail, office and residential projects, and major mixed-use developments.

Residents Invited to Participate in Virtual Town Hall Meeting with County Executive

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett will hold a “virtual” Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, April 20 from 2 to 3 p.m. County residents will be able to talk with the County Executive and ask questions through the County website.

Residents interested in participating in the online chat can enter questions through the County website before or during the chat. Questions and answers will be available for viewing both during and after the chat. To participate go to Live Discussion with County Executive Ike Leggett: April 20.

Montgomery County Public Libraries Celebrates National Library Week; Libraries Transform

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) will join community and school libraries to celebrate the dynamic changes happening in today’s libraries. April 10-16 is National Library Week, a time to highlight the changing role of libraries, librarians and library workers.

Modern-day libraries are much more than books and a quiet place to study. They are creative and engaging community centers where people can collaborate using new technologies, learn how to use a 3D printer or just relax.

MCPL offers hundreds of programs and services at the 21 branches located throughout the County. In addition to traditional services such as checking out books, MCPL offers wide-ranging amenities including a plethora of digital and technical offerings.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance each April sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use. 

For more information on library services visit montgomerycountymd.gov/library.

Montgomery County Recreation to Host Move More Montgomery Festival

Montgomery County Recreation (MCR) will host the inaugural Move More Montgomery Festival on Saturday, April 30 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Bauer Drive Community Recreation Center, 14625 Bauer Drive, Rockville. The event is free and open to the public and dogs. 

The Move More Montgomery Festival, a field-day type festival, will feature a community walk, sport and fitness demonstrations, active performances and mini-classes, interactive wellness booths and the Fido Fitness Arena. The event is rain or shine. In the case of rain, the Festival will move indoors and the Fido Fitness Arena will be canceled. 

The Move More Montgomery Festival is also the culminating event for the Move More Montgomery 100 Mile Challenge. Residents who completed the challenge by walking or running 100 miles in 100 days will be recognized at the event. 

PEG Governance Board Launches Survey of Local Cable TV Stations and Websites

Montgomery County's Public, Education and Government (PEG) organization of locally-based cable television stations and their respective web sites mission is to provide information about programs and opportunities throughout our County. The stations represent County and local governments, Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College and the independent Montgomery Community Media.

To help the PEG organization better serve you, the governance board is hoping you will complete this eleven-question survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TF92DJB

Are Your Dogs and Cats Up-to-Date with Rabies Vaccinations? Free Vaccination Clinics Begin April 17

Did you know that Montgomery County law requires all dogs, cats and ferrets over the age of four months to have a current vaccination against rabies? Because the health of humans, as well as animals is affected by the rabies virus, failure to vaccinate an animal as required may subject its owner to a $500 fine.

The Montgomery County Police Department’s Animal Services Division offers free rabies vaccination clinics with the purchase of a County Pet License. The first clinic of 2016 will be held on Sunday, April 17. Additional rabies clinics will be held the third Sunday of the month through September. All the clinics are held between 8 and 10:30 a.m. at the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC) located at 7315 Muncaster Mill Road in Derwood. Please note that public parking at the MCASAC is limited.

For more information about rabies prevention, the rabies clinics and pet licensing requirements, visit

East County Interfaith Food Summit

County Executive Ike Leggett will be joined by faith leaders, elected officials, school representatives, non-profit providers and others committed to eliminating hunger to discuss the hunger and food insecurity at the East County Interfaith Food Summit.

The East County Interfaith community in collaboration with the Montgomery County Department of Health & Human Services, East County Regional Services Center and Office of Community Partnerships are sponsors of the event to be held on April 27, 5 to 9 p.m. The event will be held at the People’s Community Baptist Church, 31 Norwood Road in Silver Spring.

Food Insecurity refers to USDA's measure of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members; limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods.

Downtown Bethesda Summer Concert Schedule Announced

With warm summer weather approaching, folks will soon be able to delight in weekly outdoor concerts in downtown Bethesda. This series, produced by the Bethesda Urban Partnership, will feature free Thursday evening concerts during May, June, and July. The concerts offer a diverse range of music including rock, funk, jazz, swing and reggae.

The concerts begin on May 5 and take place on Thursday evenings, from 6 – 8 p.m.in Veterans Park, located at the corner of Woodmont and Norfolk Avenues. See the full schedule.

Leggett Recognizes Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte at Annual Sister Cities Meeting

County Executive Ike Leggett along with County officials from the Office of Community Partnerships and members of the community celebrated the County’s Sister City partnerships at their annual meeting held on March 24.

Leggett established the Sister City program in 2006 to foster connections between Montgomery County and the world. The event presented an opportunity for members of the community to try out different types of food and culture from all four sister city countries.

The County has sister city connections with Xi’an, China, Morazan, El Salvador, Gondar Ethiopia and Hyderabad, India. In previous years, delegations from Montgomery County have visited each sister city but the main goal of the program is to foster people to people connections between local residents.

As a highlight of the evening U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador Mari Carmen Aponte received the Sister Cities Award for her contributions to the program during its early years.

“The Mail Must Go Through: Postal Service During the Civil War” is the Topic for the Montgomery County Civil War Roundtable

Author James Rada, Jr. will speak to the Montgomery County Civil War Roundtable on Thursday, April 14 at 8 pm on “The Mail Must Go Through: Postal Service During the Civil War.”

Rada is the author of five historical novels and seven non-fiction works. The presentation will be at the Gaithersburg Hilton, 620 Perry Parkway in Gaithersburg. A $5 donation is requested.