June 24, 2016

Holiday Schedule for Independence Day, Monday, July 4

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Independence Day, Monday, July 4:
  • County Offices – closed 
  • Libraries – closed 
  • County Liquor stores – all Country liquor stores will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Deliveries will be made as normal; but there will be no pickups
  • Recreation – 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 - For holiday schedule, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org
  • Ride On – Will operate on a Saturday schedule
  • Metrorail –Information available at www.wmata.com
  • Metrobus – Information available at www.wmata.com
  • TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) - closed
  • Refuse/recycling pickup – no July 4 collection. Collection will slide by one day. For information on slide schedule go to https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/sws/holidays/
  • The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station - closed 
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
  • MCPS Schools and Administrative Offices – closed 
  • State offices and courts – closed

County Celebrates Independence Day with Two Firework Displays

Again this year, Montgomery County will 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 Road, 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 Quiet Fire, a soul, R&B and rock band that covers hits from the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Mid-County Sparkles begins at 7:30 p.m. with a concert by Gringo Jingo performing the best of Santana.

For more information, go to montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.

Local July 4 Celebrations

Rockville Independence Day Celebration

Rockville's Independence Day Celebration is celebrating its second year at Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park, 1800 Piccard Dr., in King Farm. The location offers wonderful spectator viewing, and ample and parking. This event is hosted by the Mayor and Council of Rockville.

City of Gaithersburg Independence Day Celebration & Fireworks

Gaithersburg's 4th of July celebration has a new home. An entire day’s worth of activities – all leading up to a spectacular fireworks display – will take place at historic Bohrer Park at Summit Hall Farm. More information at http://www.gaithersburgmd.gov/leisure/independence-day

Town of Poolesville

The Commissioners of Poolesville and the Upper Montgomery County Volunteer Fire Department will present the 2016 Traditional Fourth of July Fireworks event on July 4. The event will be held at the soccer fields at the corner of Hughes Road and Sugarland Road in Poolesville. The gate opens at 5 p.m.

County Launches Second Phase of Reusable Bag Campaign

County Executive Ike Leggett joined by County Councilmember Craig Rice, Environmental Protection Director Lisa Feldt, Executive Director Trash Free Maryland Julie Lawson and dozens of volunteers launched the second phase of the "Bring Your Bag" campaign on June 18. The event included a stream clean-up and free bag giveaway at three grocery stores.

The outreach campaign will focus on increased awareness and education on the impacts of disposable bags on the environment, supporting retailers and the distribution of free bags to residents throughout the County.

Free reusable bags will be available to all residents at all Montgomery County Public Libraries. In addition, free bags are available to families who use the Manna Food Bank.

See more photos from Flickr.

“Summer of Safety” Public Safety Awareness Campaign Returns; County’s 2016 Edition Provides Expanded Online Tips and Resources

Montgomery County has launched the 2016 Summer of Safety public awareness campaign. This innovative outreach effort will provide essential safety information to the public throughout the summer months. The years' campaign, called Summer of Safety A to Z (SoS AtoZ), will be offered via social media channels and a County webpage.  

Safety message tweets with #MoCoSafety will be sent from the Montgomery County and other County departments’ tweeter feeds to alert followers to critical safety information available on the SoS AtoZ website or other trusted sources. All the information is arranged in alphabetical order--from the Alert Montgomery emergency warning system to updated Zika virus information. SoS AtoZ specialized safety Information will also appear in summer issues of the Paperless Airplane.

County to Receive Seven U.S Department of Housing and Urban Develop (HUD) Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) Vouchers

Montgomery County will be awarded seven U.S Department of Housing and Urban Develop (HUD) Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers in 2017. The HUD-VASH voucher program combines Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance for homeless Veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA provides these services for participating Veterans at VA medical centers and community-based outreach clinics.

The Commission joined by the offices of Congressman Van Hollen and Senator Ben Cardin began working on receiving HUD-VASH vouchers in 2009. Montgomery County has been awarded a total of 93 HUD-VASH vouchers since 2010. The County’s Housing Opportunities Commission plays an important role in supporting Veterans in need of HUD-VASH vouchers.

More information about the HUD-VASH program.

June 10, 2016

County Works to Ease Impact of SafeTrack

SafeTrack is Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) year-long effort to improve the safety and reliability of the Metrorail system. Three planned line segment repairs and around-the-clock single tracking projects, referred to as “Safety Surges,” will affect WMATA’s Red Line service in Montgomery County.

WMATA’s first Surge (Surge 6), in the County, begins August 1. WMATA has committed 40 buses to enhance service in surge areas. Responding to a request from the County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT), MARC will add cars to existing trains during peak periods. Capital Bikeshare will offer a $2 one-time use option. MCDOT is coordinating with WMATA, MTA, MDOT and Capital Bikeshare to assist travelers as they continue to work on their service plans for later Surges.

By keeping up to 17 recently replaced buses in service, MCDOT will both provide additional Ride On service on certain bus routes and free bus shuttles between affected Metrorail stations. Ride On will provide on-street ambassadors at affected Metrorail stations to help direct travelers to transit options.

For more information about impact, please refer to the SafeTrack plan or check brochure in Spanish and other languages (pdf). Read more about MCDOT's plans here.

Statement by Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett on the Orlando Mass Shooting

“Our hearts go out to the friends and families of the victims of Sunday’s tragic shooting in Orlando. The tragic interplay of intolerance and too-easy access to automatic weapons once more has caused occasion for national mourning. There can be no justification, whether religious or political, for the taking of innocent life. And there is nothing more un-American than targeting individuals based on their faith, where they come from, what color their skin might be or whom they choose to love.”

Novavax to Expand Operations in Montgomery County, Plans to Add 850 New Jobs

Novavax, a clinical-stage vaccine company that works to deliver novel products to prevent a broad range of infectious diseases, announced plans to expand in Montgomery County. The expansion of Novavax will add another highly important stable and growing bio health asset to a hub of regional and national firms in Montgomery County.

The company, headquartered in Gaithersburg, is planning to build upon its research, development and clinical trial support operations. As part of the expansion, Novavax plans to retain its current full-time employees and bring hundreds of new jobs to the County. In addition to the Gaithersburg headquarters, Novavax has facilities in Rockville and Sweden.

For more information, go to press release.

Montgomery County’s Faith Communities Connect with New Neighbors Guide

Our world is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis with millions of refugees and immigrants fleeing persecution and violence. In response, the County Executive’s Faith Community Advisory Council has prepared a do-it-yourself guide to assist the County’s faith communities in welcoming our new neighbors.

The guide describes ways people may connect with the heart of their faith, learn about the needs of their neighbors, and work with nonprofits and government agencies to make Montgomery County the most welcoming community in America.

The New Neighbors Guide is available at https://www.scribd.com/doc/313811103/Faith-Community-Welcome-New-Neighbors-Guide

Summit on Aging Report is Now Available Online

The County Executive’s Summit on Aging report is now available online. The Senior Summit convened to celebrate accomplishments and listen to the community. The event provided a day of sharing and consideration in an effort to build further improvements in programs and services that can help make Montgomery County a “Community For a Life-time”. The report includes summaries of presentations, work group suggestions and links to a wealth of resources.

To read the report go to Senior Summit Report

Montgomery County Joined the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week

Montgomery County joined local governments and water utilities across the metropolitan region in celebrating the week of June 4–12 as Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and Water Resources Policy Committee (CBPC) designated the week to focus on the success of local governments and water utilities in reducing pollutants entering the Bay and to improve water quality.

County Councilmember Craig Rice, chairman for the Metropolitan Washington COG and CBPC, prepared a Bay Journal op-ed called Metropolitan Washington: Local Leaders in Chesapeake Bay Restoration Efforts, which highlighted local efforts to protect the Bay.

Montgomery County meets some of the strictest requirements for controlling stormwater pollution and implements innovative techniques and best practices to protect and sustain our watersheds, which have direct connection to our greater waterways including the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.

Fallen and Missing Service Members Remembered and Will Not Be Forgotten

This past Memorial Day, fallen and missing service members who gave their lives in service to our country were remembered. As we honored those who gave the last full measure, we celebrated our County veterans and families and all they have done and continue to do.

The Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs provides advice to the County Executive and County Council on the status of programs and services related to the needs of veterans. All veterans, their families and the public are invited to the next open meeting on Tuesday, June 21, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the first floor conference room at the Department of Health & Human Services, 401 Hungerford Drive, Rockville.

More information about the Commission is available at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/cva

Other significant dates include:
  • June 14– The 241st birthday of the United States Army
  • June 14- Flag Day, commemorating the adoption of the United States flag
  • June 23– The Coast Guard Auxiliary Birthday
June 27- National PTSD Awareness Day, which is of significant importance to the Commission given the daily loss of veterans to suicide

Senior Safety Forum Will Focus on the Safe Use of Technology

The sixth annual Senior Safety Forum will be held on Tuesday, June 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Holiday Park Senior Center located at 3950 Ferrara Drive in Wheaton. The free event is for older adults, their families and caregivers for seniors. Activities are planned to raise awareness of not only general senior safety, but also elder abuse, neglect and exploitation, and will emphasize the safe use of technology.

The event include presenters, exhibitors and workshops on a variety of important safety topics with a focus on the safe use of technology. Enjoy free bag lunches while supplies last, as well as raffle prizes, live music and police and fire and rescue demonstrations.

To learn more about the event, check press release.

Office of Consumer Protection Advise Residents to Lookout for Zika Scams

The Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) offers tips to raise awareness about scammers who may try to prey on people’s fears of insect borne illnesses such as the Zika virus. Those who engage in questionable business practices will often use health fears to try to drum up more business.
  • Mosquito Spraying Contractors: Verify that they are licensed with the State of Maryland before entering into a contract. Be wary of companies who lowball an introductory price and then come back for subsequent sprays at higher prices.
  • Refer to the CDC prevention guide on how to best repel mosquitos or review the information provided by the County on protecting yourself from mosquito bites.
  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is warning of an increase in investment scams as companies claim to develop products or services relating to the Zika virus. 
  • Symantec, a cyber security company, is warning consumers to be aware of malware and Trojan horses buried in online and emailed informational guides on Zika virus prevention.
  • Don’t buy potions, lotions, or other supplements promising to protect you against Zika. Testimonials about a product may be exaggerated or false. If you decide to try a product or treatment, contact your physician first and pay with a credit card as it may improve your chances of being able to get a refund. 
Zika scams can be reported by filing a complaint with the OCP or calling 240-777-3636.

Foster Parents Are Always Needed

Foster parents are people who choose to become the substitute families for children in need. Foster parenting is both a responsibility and an opportunity. Foster children require more than "custodial" care. Foster parents provide food, clothing, and shelter, plus the love, stability, guidance, and discipline these children need until they are reunited with their families or are adopted. Foster parents give children their best efforts even though the child is with them only temporarily.

At any given point in time, there are approximately 350 children in foster care placements with families in the community. There is an immediate need for families interested in fostering one or more children 13 years of age and older, teen mothers and their babies/young children, sibling groups of any age, children from birth through age five and children with complex behavior and/or medical needs.

To become a foster parent, individuals must be 21 years or older, own or rent their own apartment or house, be in good physical and mental health, be able to meet their family’s financial obligations, submit to a housing inspection, pass a criminal background check, meet pre-service training requirements and have a stable family relationship.

Monthly information meetings are held for individuals and families interested in learning more. For additional information, go to montgomerycountymd.gov/kidsneedyou.

Dive Into Water Safety

School is almost out and temperatures are heating up, which means many people are thinking about water activities.

Swimming pools are a great way to beat the summer heat but it is important to remember that drowning accidents are the leading cause of death and injury of children under five years of age. Residential pools and spas are where 80% of drowning deaths occurs. Following basic safety guidelines can go a long way to ensure everyone has fun and stays safe in and around the water.

Again this summer, the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) will continue to focus education efforts and public attention on the serious and deadly dangers of the 14-mile stretch of the Potomac River from Great Falls to the Key Bridge. MCFRS representatives and officials are working hard to remind residents of the dangers of the Potomac River and provide important tips to be safe while hiking in the area. 
  • Water Safety Tips (pdf)

Montgomery County Welcomes New Citizens

Montgomery County welcomed 34 applicants from 27 different countries as new U.S. citizens on June 1. Public Libraries' Gaithersburg Branch, in partnership with the Office of Community Partnerships Gilchrist Center hosted a Naturalization Ceremony where Countries represented, included: Albania; Algeria; Cambodia; Cameroon; Canada; Democratic Republic of Congo; Denmark; El Salvador; Ethiopia; Guatemala; Haiti; Hong Kong; India; Iran; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Nepal; Nicaragua; Pakistan; Russia; South Africa; Senegal; Republic of Korea; Sri Lanka; and Venezuela.

City of Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman joined County officials Bruce Adams, director of the Office of Community Partnerships and Public Libraries Director Parker Hamilton in the ceremony. Representatives from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services officiated the ceremony.

Firefighters Rescue Duckling From Storm Drains

While wrapping up a long day of work in the Leisure World community, firefighters came upon a young duckling who had fallen into a stormwater drain. Firefights are not ones to duck out of their responsibilities so the crew went into action to save this young animal.

Rescue missions generally require heavy firefighting gear and professional equipment, however, compassion, a gentle hand and wash basin were the lifesaving equipment necessary to save this unlucky duck.

The rescue happened after the crews had visited over four hundred homes to install smoke alarms and replace batteries as part of the department’s community risk reduction initiative.

The duck reportedly is doing well.

On Your Mark Get Set…Summer Reading Program is Underway!

On Your Mark Get Set … Read! Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) invites all students to participate in this year’s Summer Read and Learn program, which will run June 1 to August 31. Participants can sign up for the program and complete learning track activities, including reading, fitness, science, arts and crafts, and more.

All summer long, there will be free programs including animals, magic, music, puppets, science, and storytellers at library branches. The event kicked off with a free concert by Grammy award winning musicians Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer on Saturday, June 4 outside the Rockville Memorial Library.

Registration is available online and at any MCPL branch library. Prizes (while supplies last) will be awarded upon completion of the learning tracks. The Summer Read Program is open to all ages.

Silver Spring Thursday Night Concerts June 16 – August 4 at Veterans Plaza

Silver Spring’s Thursday Night Concerts features touring artists and local favorites for their summer line-up. From Motown to Rock to Oldies, the popular summer concert series has music for everyone.

The concerts feature games for kids and a raffle that includes prizes for adults and toys for kids. The raffle is awarded at intermission.

Silver Spring Concert performances are free and take place on Thursdays from 7-9 p.m. The outdoor performances are presented at the Silver Spring Civic Building on Veterans Plaza, One Veterans Place. Performances are canceled due to weather only if it is raining at 7 p.m. The programs are sponsored by Discovery Communications, Live Nation, Montgomery County, the Silver Spring Urban District, Montgomery County Recreation and the Celebrate Downtown Silver Spring Foundation.

For more information on the concerts, check press release.

Bike to Work Day in White Flint Turned Out to be a Winner for One Family

Pictured in biking attire are Joe, Amy, Elena and Olivia Woitach; Bob Mallasch of Bob’s Bikes in Poolesville presented their new bike.
The Woitach family won a free "fold up bike" at White Flint’s Bike to Work Day this year. The family of five, including their son Joseph, bicycle along routes such as the C&O Canal and Beach Drive. As their bike rack only fits four bikes, they can store the folding bike in their car and fit everyone.

Various members of the family have participated in Bike to Work Day since 2002.