July 27, 2017

National Night Out Is an Evening of Community Events to Fight Crime

National Night Out events will take place in communities throughout Montgomery County on Tuesday, August 1. National Night Out is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch to generate neighborhood support and participation in crime prevention efforts and enhance police and community relationships.

More information and a list of locations coordinated with the Montgomery County Police Department is available from website.

Other local law enforcement agencies serving municipalities in Montgomery County have coordinated additional Night Out events.

JBG SMITH to Locate New Headquarters in Montgomery County

JBG SMITH, the new publicly traded real estate investment trust formed from the merger of The JBG Companies and Vornado Realty Trust, will locate its new corporate headquarters to 4747 Bethesda Ave. in Bethesda. This will bring hundreds of new jobs to the County.

JBG Smith is the region’s largest development company and has contributed to the region’s community-building and economic vitality. The newly combined company will have 425 employees who will be housed in a new 300,000 sq. ft. building at the corner of Bethesda and Woodmont Avenues.

This latest news follows the recent announcements that Marriott will remain in Montgomery County and build a new, $600 million headquarters in downtown Bethesda, and pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline will make Rockville the home for its new global vaccine R&D center.

More information is available at:

Montgomery County Launches Business Portal

Montgomery County has a new business portal that will make it easier for businesses to interact with County government. 

The business portal is a gateway to County-government services and information related to doing business in Montgomery County. It is modeled after national, best practices and based on input from an extensive survey in 2016 on improving government services for businesses. Integrating information from multiple County departments, the business portal is a single point of entry that aims to further streamline County services and operations to make it easier to start and grow a business in the County.

The portal is available at: montgomerycountymd.gov/biz

For more information on additional Second Quarter 2017 Economic Development Highlights (pdf).

Montgomery’s Newest and Largest Solar Panel Project Unveiled at the County’s Correctional Facility

County Executive Ike Leggett unveiled the County’s largest solar project to date at the County’s Correctional Facility in early July. With more than 2,600 solar panels the complex can operate independently from the power grid in an emergency loss of electricity.

The project is expected to produce 3.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year, enough to provide more than 60 percent of the electricity used by the facility. By the end of 2018, solar projects on County property are expected to generate enough electricity to power more than 1,000 single-family homes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as planting 200,000 trees each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Designed with a 20-year, power purchase agreement at a low, fixed cost, these solar projects give the County independence from the rising cost of electricity.

You May Be Eligible for a Property Tax Credit

Modest income homeowners and adults over age 65 may qualify for a property tax credit. To receive the tax credit for this year, you must apply by Sept. 1. For more information view or download brochure.

Another Top-10 Digital Finish for the County

Montgomery County was ranked as second place in the 2017 Digital Counties competition, which is sponsored by the Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties. This is the fourth year in a row that the County has been ranked in second place for Counties whose populations exceed 500,000. Montgomery County is the only County with a population exceeding 500,000 to be ranked in the Top 10 each year since the inception of the survey in 2003. Read more here.

Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County Accepting Nominations for County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities

It is that time of year! The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County is accepting nominations for this year’s County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities. Now in its 16th year, the County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities honor individuals and organizations that have made a difference in Montgomery County through the arts and humanities. 

County Executive Ike Leggett and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County invite you to nominate an outstanding member of the community for the 2017 County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities in the following categories:
  • Education Award
  • Community Award
  • Volunteer Award
  • Outstanding Artist or Scholar Award
  • Business or Individual Patron Award
  • Emerging Leader Award
If you would like to nominate an organization and/or individual for an award, please click here. The deadline to submit your nomination is Monday, July 31.

The 16th annual County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities will be held on Monday, November 6 at Round House Theatre in Bethesda.

Department of Recreation Director Graduates from Presidential Leadership Scholars Program

Gabe Albornoz, Director of the Montgomery County Department of Recreation graduated from the Presidential Leadership Scholars (PLS) program in Dallas, Texas on July 13. He was one of 60 scholars from across the country and shared the stage with President William Jefferson Clinton and President George W. Bush.

The leadership training series is designed to develop a new generation of leaders from varied backgrounds who are committed to facing society’s greatest challenges. The program seeks participants who have the desire and capacity to take their leadership strengths to a higher level to help their communities, and embolden them with the practical skills needed to drive solution-oriented action. By including a roster of presidential centers – two Republican and two Democratic –the program created a rare opportunity to instill in scholars a brand of principled leadership that transcends diverse backgrounds.

The PLS program enhances the impact of leaders who are creating change in their communities, our nation, and the world. A first-of-its-kind curriculum and unparalleled opportunity to join a diverse network of change-makers sharpens participants' skills and exposes them to new ideas and thinking. They are led through an exploration of principles that directly help them address a need in society.

Albornoz oversees 39 recreation facilities including community recreation centers, aquatic centers, and senior centers; more than 3,000 employees; and manages the department’s $33 million budget. County Executive Ike Leggett appointed Albornoz to serve as Director of the Department of Recreation in January 2007. At age 30, Albornoz became the youngest cabinet-level appointment in the history of Montgomery County.

For more on the PLS program go to www.presidentialleadershipscholars.org/the-program or read press release.

I Take It Personally, New Campaign to Prevent Over-Service and Drunk Driving

The County’s Department of Liquor Control and the Department of Police launched a new public awareness campaign to encourage everyone in the County to do what they can to limit alcohol over-service, over-consumption and drunk driving. The campaign titled, “I Take It Personally,” includes messaging over the summer on Ride On buses, bus shelters, County liquor stores and private establishments serving alcohol. The County’s social media and fliers will also be used to outreach on this important information. 

Part of the program includes a partnership with local transportation services to provide reduced cost safe rides via mobile apps. To learn more from press release.

Visit Montgomery Offers a Full Line-up of Events for Residents and Visitors

Visit Montgomery, Montgomery County’s official Conference and Visitors Bureau, is more than a great resource for travelers, it also provides heaps of information for residents looking to find activities locally. Whether you are into hiking, camping, enjoying restaurants, visiting galleries, or attending a performance at a theatre, you’ll find it all, and more, in Montgomery County.

With more than 33,000 acres of parkland in 345 parks, 60 galleries, 22 theatres, 50 historical venues, visitors and residents enjoy superb amenities throughout the year.

Check out the calendar at visitmontgomery.com/events/ to see a full line-up of special activities and happenings. Many of the events are free!

Summer of Safety Provides Tips to Keep You and Your Family Safe

Hopefully everyone is taking advantage of the safety tips resource, “Summer of Safety: A to Z”, located on the County’s website at: montgomerycountymd.gov/summersafety.

Throughout the summer safety tips are highlighted on the site through tweets with #MoCoSafety and posted on the County’s Facebook page. We may also tweet out important safety-related information using that hashtag. This is important information to keep our community members safe, so please continue to follow the #MoCoSafety tweets. Most importantly, if you haven’t already signed up to receive Alert Montgomery emergency messages go to alert.montgomerycountymd.gov or visit Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security website.

Your Input Needed on Long-Range Transportation Plans

The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board wants to hear from residents about their daily commuting experiences. The information will be used to develop Visualize 2045, which is a long-range transportation plan for the National Capital Region. The plan will show the projects and improvements the region’s transportation agencies are planning through 2045—both what they can afford now and what they would build if they had more funding.

Visualize 2045 will focus on regionally significant road and transit projects, and highlight bicycle and pedestrian projects and key land-use issues facing the region. The plan will take a multimodal approach, relying not on any one travel mode to accommodate future population growth and address the region’s diverse transportation challenges.

The plan will show the current regional projects and how those projects will affect future travel patterns and conditions. In doing so, it will paint a picture of where the region’s current planning and funding decisions will get us. The aim is to help elected leaders, regional planners, and the public better understand the kinds of decisions we need to make today to realize a more desirable transportation future.

One of the best ways to participate in Visualize 2045 is to take a brief online survey. This is to better understand what affects your daily travel and what can make your experience better. Your answers will help inform discussions among elected leaders and regional planners about the planning and funding decisions we should be making to improve the region’s transportation future. The survey is available through July 31.

To take the survey now go to visualize2045.metroquest.com.

Police Adventure Camp Connects Youth to Police

Campers, counselors, officers from the 1st District, and special guest former Washington Redskin wide receiver Charlie Brown, at today’s graduation for the 9th Annual Police Adventure Camp
“Police Adventure Camp” provided 35 children with an opportunity to get a better understanding of the work of police officers and emboldened the campers to get to know some of the officers in supportive and mentoring roles. The participants received guidance in conflict resolution, team work, and good-decision making. They viewed demonstrations by MCPD Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) officers, K-9 teams, and Traffic Division officers.

The program, held June 26 through 30 at Maryvale Elementary School in Rockville, was offered in partnership by the Montgomery County Police Department, Montgomery County Public Schools and the Linkages to Learning program.

Two special events were provided by Former Redskin Charlie Brown who facilitated football drills, and Baltimore Blast soccer team member Levi Houapeu who led soccer clinics. More information and photos available.

Community Action Board Accepting Applications for Community Advocacy Institute

The Community Action Board is now accepting applications for the Community Advocacy Institute (formerly the Leadership Development Institute). Participants must be Montgomery County residents with a household income of $54,000 or less. This FREE program includes workshops featuring elected officials, local advocates, and issue experts. Apply online HERE by August 25.

June 28, 2017

Holiday Schedule for Independence Day, July 4

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Independence Day, Tuesday, July 4.
  • County Offices – closed 
  • Libraries – closed 
  • County Liquor stores – all stores will be open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Recreation – Indoor and outdoor pools open, Germantown Indoor Pool closes at 3 p.m. all other pools close at 6 p.m.; Administrative offices, senior centers and recreation centers will be closed.
  • Montgomery Parks - Information available from website.
  • Ride On – will operate on a Saturday schedule. Information is available from website
  • 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 website.
  • 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

Montgomery County to Host Two Independence Day Celebrations

It is that time to bring out the red, white and blue, fire up the grill and chow down on yummy picnic food. Again this year, Montgomery County’s Recreation Department will light up the skies with two dynamic fireworks displays on the evening of July 4.

Germantown Glory will be held at the Maryland SoccerPlex in the South Germantown Recreational Park located at 18041 Central Park Circle in Germantown (Boyds). Mid-County Sparkles will take place at Albert Einstein High School located at 11135 Newport Road in Kensington. Both firework 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. Only parking for individuals with disabilities will be available on-site at Einstein High School. Free parking and shuttle service will be provided from Westfield Wheaton. Parking at Westfield Wheaton will open at 6 p.m.

Shuttle service from Westfield Wheaton to Einstein High School will begin at 6:15 p.m. Shuttles can be accessed between the North Building and the CVS. Follow event parking/shuttle signage.

Low lawn chairs, blankets and coolers are welcome at both events. Food vendors will be on site. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted. The rain date for fireworks only is July 5.

See more information in press release.

Keep You and Your Family Safe on July 4 by Leaving Fireworks to the Professionals

An important reminder from Montgomery County’s Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) is to Leave Fireworks to the Professionals! What seems like great fun unfortunately has the potential for great injury. Each year, locally and across the country, people of all ages are injured by fireworks.

Here are some safety tips to keep you and your family safe.

County Executive Ike Leggett Celebrates Opening of New Mixed Paper Processing Facility at the Recycling Center

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Department of Environmental Protection Director Lisa Feldt participated in an open house for the recently operational Mixed Paper Processing Facility at the Recycling Center on Tuesday, June 27. The facility located at 16105 Frederick Road in Derwood opened in May 2017. Maryland Environmental Service with Colossal Contractors, a minority-owned business firm, operates the facility.

The open house included a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility to see where the approximately 200 tons of paper and cardboard received per day is sorted and baled. Once processed the paper is sent domestically and internationally to be recycled into reusable materials such as cereal boxes, printer paper, paper bags, cardboard boxes and pizza boxes.

Prior to the opening of the new Mixed Paper Processing Facility, the County paid to have paper sorted, hauled and sent to a separate recycling processing facility. The opening of the new facility makes it possible for the County to capture the revenue, which is used to offset the operations and programming costs. The annual sale revenue for the baled paper is approximately $3 million.

The mixed paper facility added nine new jobs, for a total of 57 workers employed at the Recycling Center.

Visit website for more information about the new facility.

Montgomery County Council Building Will Begin New Safety Measures

New safety measures are set to begin on July 5 at the Council Office Building located at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. Visitors will enter at one of two designated, ADA-accessible public entrances. One is in front of the building near the second-floor cafeteria. The other entrance is adjacent to the first-floor auditorium near the parking garage adjacent to the building. Signs will be posted that identify the two public entrances. The safety enhancements will include screening stations and security personnel.

Screening stations will be in operation from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Public access to the Council Office Building will not be available outside of these hours.

For public hearings and meetings attended by many visitors, those coming to the building may experience a line to enter and are asked to plan accordingly. For Council public hearings, visitors may want to base their arrival time on the order of the speakers’ list, which is available online by 11 a.m. the day of the hearing for afternoon hearings, and by 3 p.m. for evening hearings.

More information is available at Council Office Building Security Video and Press Release.

Director of Montgomery County Public Libraries Parker Hamilton Announces Retirement Date

Parker Hamilton
Parker Hamilton has announced that she will retire at the end of July. Hamilton served as Director for Montgomery County Public Libraries for 12 years.

County Executive Ike Leggett made the following statement on the retirement of Parker Hamilton

“Parker Hamilton is a remarkable woman and Montgomery County will miss her terribly.

“After almost 37 years of service to the County -- and twelve years as the Director of Public Libraries – she will be retiring and moving back home South, to Alabama.

“Parker began her working life in South Carolina as a domestic worker, and ended it running one of the most innovative, progressive public library systems in America. Prior to earning her BA and MLS from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, she worked as a telephone operator and provided customer service in a pawn shop. In addition to working in public libraries, she has worked in school, military, and business libraries.

“Under Parker’s leadership, our County libraries were able to survive some tough times during the Great Recession when budgets had to be cut to the bone, without sacrificing quality, hours, or customer service. With Parker at the helm, County libraries received 19 National Association of Counties awards, and innovation awards from Urban Libraries Council, including the 2016 Top Innovation Award.

“Plainly put, Parker has made a difference for all County residents. We’ll miss her but we wish her a retirement rich in everything that matters.”

Healthy Montgomery Seeks Community Comment on Community Health Improvement Plan

The Healthy Montgomery Steering Committee invites residents to review and make comments on the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). The CHIP provides a summary of priorities that will guide the work of Healthy Montgomery for the next three years. Residents are asked to provide comments by Friday, June 30. A copy of the report and the feedback survey can be found online at HealthyMontgomery.Org.

For more information, check press release.

Air Conditioner Safety Tips to Help You Beat the Heat

Air conditioners can bring welcome relief to scorching hot summer days. However, the same appliance that cools you down can burn your house down if not properly maintained.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services Public Information Officer Pete Piringer recently appeared on Good Morning America to remind everyone that air conditioners that are overworked and overheated can strain air conditioner units and become safety hazards.
  • Properly maintain the unit
  • Ensure an adequate power source
  • Clear the space around the unit
  • Have the unit checked twice per year by a certified HVAC technician
Piringer also reminded viewers of the risk that ineptly installed air conditioning window units can cause by falling out of a window.

To see more safety information on a variety of topics go to MCFRS Safety Tips.

Silver Spring Thursday Night Concerts Through August 3 at Veterans Plaza

The Silver Spring Summer Concerts can turn an ordinary evening into a summer celebration. The free outdoor concerts take place on Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Silver Spring Civic Building on Veterans Plaza, at Fenton Street and Ellsworth Drive. Silver Spring’s Summer Concerts are family-friendly, with dancing, face painting, games for the kids and music in a variety of styles. The concert series features a raffle that gives away prizes for adults as well as toys and gifts for kids. The raffle opens at 6:30 p.m. and is awarded at intermission. Make a full evening and bring a picnic or purchase food at one of the many nearby restaurants.

2017 Concert Schedule:
The concerts are sponsored by Discovery Communications, Live Nation, the Silver Spring Urban District, Montgomery County Recreation and the Foundation to Celebrate Downtown Silver Spring. Performances will be canceled if it is raining at 7 p.m.

For more information, call (240) 777- 0311, visit www.silverspringdowntown.com or download flyer from here.

Farm Tour and Harvest Sale Celebrates 28th Anniversary

The County’s annual Farm Tour & Harvest Sale celebrates its 28th anniversary with a variety of agricultural operations open to the public on July 22 and July 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Seventeen farms will participate in the event.

Many people do not realize that about one-third of the County’s land is agricultural. Most of the farms in the County are family-run operations, which employ more than 10,000 residents. The County has 540 farms in Montgomery County, many of which produce crops that help feed residents.

The Annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale helps the County promote its farms by making residents aware of the diverse agricultural industry and products that are locally available during the growing season. The Farm Tour provides a way to link County residents to farming operations.

For more information on participating farms and operational hours for the farm visits see the website at montgomerycountymd.gov/farmtour.

Summer Read and Learn Program is Now Open at Montgomery County Public Libraries

The Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) Summer Read and Learn Program kicked off on June 10. This year’s theme is “Build a Better World.” Children and teens can sign up online or at any branch through September 10.

The program offers children exciting reading and educational activities. Participants can earn online badges and prizes (while supplies last) or raffle entries for completing tracks. Teens are also encouraged to participate in the program by reading and completing book reviews to earn badges and prizes.

Summer Read and Learn will include many different activities and events such as music, storytellers, science and animal themed activities. Schedules of programs are on the library’s calendar of events at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library.

June 7, 2017

Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for the Wheaton Revitalization Project

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Wheaton Revitalization Project was held on June 4. The project will transform the existing Mid-County Regional Services Center building and adjacent parking lot into a County office building, Town Square civic space, underground parking garage, Triangle Lane retail space and ultimately, a residential building. The new development will remake the downtown Wheaton Triangle which is located at 11219 Grandview Avenue.

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation is leading the effort for the project. The 308,000-square-foot office building will house six Montgomery County departments and agencies and the headquarters for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

The first level of the building will add more than 11,000 square-feet of new retail space along Triangle Lane. The project will include an underground parking garage with 397 public parking spaces and a 35,000 square-foot Town Square. Other amenities will include a stage, amphitheater-style seating, publicly available WiFi, a community water feature, an art sculpture and open space for community gatherings and activities.

For more information about Wheaton Revitalization, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/wheatondev

County Executive Ike Leggett Joins Thousands of Leaders Who Say “We Are Still In” on Paris Climate Agreement

On June 5 County Executive Ike Leggett joined more than 1,000 U.S. governors, county executives, mayors, businesses, investors, and colleges and universities in declaring their support for U.S. leadership in reducing carbon emissions.

The leaders sent a strong signal to the international community and the 194 other parties to the Paris Agreement about their continued ambitious action on climate change absent leadership at the federal level. To read the letter go to wearestillin.com.

Montgomery County has always been a leader in reducing emissions and is nationally recognized for its best practices in increasing energy efficiency, growing renewable energy sources and reducing greenhouse gases as much as possible.

To reduce its own footprint, County Government has increased the number of electric and hybrid vehicles in its fleet, installed solar energy panels on many County buildings, and continues to be one of the nation’s largest local government purchasers of renewable energy. For details on these and other initiatives and accomplishments in energy sustainability in County facilities, see the FY16 Sustainable Government Operations Report.

The County has adopted a transportation policy that considers ecosystem and climate impacts, reduces and prevents waste and pollution, and focuses on reducing energy consumption. The result is a balanced approach that includes extensive transit, ridesharing, bicycling and walking opportunities that serve all County residents, visitors and workers. For details on this policy, see Sustainability Policy: Moving Forward Together.

To help businesses and residents in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the County has established innovative financing tools to increase investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades through the implementation of a Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, and by becoming the first County in the nation to establish a Green Bank. For details on these and other initiatives and accomplishments to promote sustainability in the County in collaboration with residents, businesses and other community-based organizations, see the 2017 Office of Sustainability Annual Report.

Calling all Film Fans! Free Montgomery College Summer Foreign Film Festival

A free foreign film festival is coming to Montgomery College this summer. The Monday evening film series will explore the 1960’s. The films will be shown at the Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center located at 51 Mannakee Street in Rockville.

All films begin at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Visit website for more information.

Montgomery County Council Unanimously Approves Budget for Fiscal Year Beginning July 1

The Montgomery County Council unanimously approved a $5.4 billion County operating budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, a 2.8 percent increase over the approved budget for FY 17 on May 25. The budget strongly supports Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, the County’s public safety programs and the safety net services provided by the County and non-profit organizations. The Council gave preliminary approval to the budget on May 18.

The budget will go into effect on July 1. Find more about the updated information available.

County Executive Ike Leggett’s Statement on Lawsuit Brought by Montgomery County to Recover Costs Associated with Delivering a Safe and Durable Silver Spring Transit Center

County Executive Ike Leggett made the following statement about the lawsuit brought by Montgomery County to recover costs associated with delivering a safe and durable Silver Spring Transit Center.
"I am pleased that the County has settled the lawsuit we brought to recover taxpayer costs associated with the repair and remediation of the Silver Spring Transit Center. This is very much in the public interest. The $25 million payment to the County will cover 90 percent of the hard costs we incurred to deliver a safe and durable Silver Spring Transit Center.”

Local Elected Officials Request the Federal Aviation Administration to Address Airplane Noise

County Executive Ike Leggett joined by Senator Chris Van Hollen, Senator Ben Cardin, Representative John Delaney, Representative Jamie Raskin and County Council President Roger Berliner are working together to relieve the increased air traffic noise that is impacting more than 20,000 homes in Montgomery County.

The increased air traffic is caused by the 2015 implementation of the Washington, D.C. Optimization of Airspace and Procedures in the Metroplex. These procedural changes shifted flight patterns into Ronald Reagan International Airport, which caused the increased noise.

On May 5, the officials sent a letter to Federal Aviation (FAA) Administrator Michael P. Huerta requesting a thorough review of the increased aircraft traffic caused by the shifted flight paths and all documents relating to the environmental review.

Concerned residents have formed the MC Quiet Skies Coalition, which is an alliance of concerned citizens and community associations in the County who are living under newly formed flight paths. The group is committed to work with residents, elected officials, the FAA and others to resolve the excessive levels of noise, air pollution, and health and safety risks imposed on our communities by the FAA’s flight paths and procedures at Reagan. Visit website for more information on the coalition.

Montgomery County to Host a Public Meeting to Discuss Proposed Zoning Changes to Address Small Cell Antennas in Neighborhoods

Change is coming to wireless technology at a swift pace. On one hand, we all welcome the coming transformation that will allow us to stream information and videos at high speed in our homes and businesses, but on the other hand, many of us are questioning the need for the antennas and equipment that will deploy this technology in our residential neighborhoods.

Montgomery County is on the forefront of these challenges for two important reasons: 1) Montgomery has recently received an unprecedented number of applications to deploy these small cell antennas in residential neighborhoods around the County, and 2) the Federal government (Federal Communications Commission - FCC) is right now considering preempting local governments’ zoning authority over siting these antennas. It is this local zoning authority that allows local governments across the country to regulate how and where these antennas are placed in residential neighborhoods and commercial areas.

In May, County Executive Ike Leggett took a delegation of County technology experts, Councilmember Hans Riemer, Congressman Jamie Raskin and representatives from the offices of Senators Ben Cardin, Senator Chris Van Hollen, Congressman John Sarbanes and Congressman John Delaney to the FCC to meet with Chairman Ajit Pai and his staff. Leggett strongly advocate against federal preemption of local zoning authority, and asked Pai to help allay the public’s health concerns about these small cell antennas by updating the federal RF emissions standards, which have not been revised since 1996.

Leggett requested the County’s Department of Information Technology Services (DTS) to work with the County Attorney to develop zoning regulations to protect residential neighborhoods from a proliferation of small cell antennas while still allowing wireless providers to deploy their new technology in the County. Federal law is clear on this matter: local governments cannot put regulations in place that would prohibit providers from providing service.

The County will hold an information meeting for the public on these proposed zoning changes on June 14 at 7 p.m. in the Cafeteria at the Executive Office Building at 101 Monroe Street in Rockville.

View the County Executive’s letter to the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Office of Community Partnerships Middle Eastern American Advisory Group Denounces the June 3 Terrorist Attack in London

The Middle Eastern American Advisory Group -- volunteers with the Montgomery County, Maryland Office of Community Partnerships serving as advisors to the County Executive made a statement denouncing the June 3 Terrorist attack in London. Read the full statement (pdf).

For more information, visit Middle Eastern American Advisory Group website.

Get Ticked Off About Lyme Disease; Here’s What You Need to Know to Protect You and Your Family

deer tick
As summer moves into full swing, County health officials urge residents to learn about Lyme disease and how to protect themselves when they are outdoors.

Lyme disease is an illness caused by the Borrellia Burgdorferi bacteria and is spread by the bite of a tick infected with the bacteria. Symptoms of Lyme disease may include headache, fever, muscle and joint-aches, fatigue and a rash often characterized by a distinctive “bull’s-eye” appearance. If left untreated, Lyme disease can progress to more serious problems, including joint and muscle-swelling and heart disease.

Read more about how to protect yourself and your family from Lyme Disease at montgomerycountymd.gov/lymedisease.

Montgomery County Department of Recreation’s “MoCo’s Got Talent” is a Winning Event

Montgomery County’s Department of Recreation held the grand finale performance for the fourth annual MoCo’s Got Talent contest on Sunday, May 21. The Recreation department’s Youth Development Team hosted the special event at the Fillmore in Silver Spring. This unique talent competition took place throughout the spring as more than 70 youth competed to earn a spot in the finals. The emphasis of the show was to promote the importance of keeping the Arts alive and thriving in the County for all young people.

Winners were selected by local art professionals who rated finalists on the following criteria: creativity, originality, quality, audience appeal and skill level.

See photos from flickr album.


Music Category

  • 1st-Leanna Rathbun, junior at Sherwood HS
  • 2nd-Lancie Kear, freshman at Paint Branch

Dance category

  • 1st-Tribal Dancers from Blair, Wheaton, Springbrook and Watkins Mill HS
  • 2nd-Unique Image, Gaithersburg HS

Visual arts awards

  • Middle School-Larisa Kachko from Rosa Parks MS
  • High School-Will Flaig from Northwest HS

Created with flickr slideshow.

Montgomery County to Hold Seventh Annual Senior Safety Forum in Recognition of Elder Abuse Awareness Day

The seventh annual Senior Safety Forum will be held on Wednesday, June 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rockville Senior Center located at 1150 Carnation Drive. 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 and neglect and exploitation.

The event will include presenters, exhibitors and workshops on a variety of important health and safety topics relating to senior citizens. Enjoy free bag lunches while supplies last, as well as raffle prizes, free blood pressure checks and police and fire and rescue demonstrations.

To learn more about the event, go to the press release.

Montgomery County Encourages Residents to Participate in Second Annual Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Councilmember Craig Rice will proclaim the second week in June as Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week in Montgomery County. The designation is intended to increase awareness of the importance of the Chesapeake Bay in Montgomery County and throughout the metropolitan area. 

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) works all year to protect and improve the County’s air, water and land. Residents are urged to take advantage of the dozens of services and outreach activities offered to help anyone looking to improve the environment. Every effort, whether small actions such as taking a reusable bag when shopping, or a much more time-intensive action such as organizing a large stream clean-up can make a difference in the health of the Bay.

For more information about Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection’s water quality programming and how you can get involved, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/water.

Free Outdoor Movie Series Returns to Bethesda

The 12th annual outdoor movie series will return to Bethesda with five blockbusters. The free movies will begin at 9 p.m. at the corner of Norfolk and Auburn Avenues. A limited number of chairs will be provided and attendees are invited to bring their own lawn chairs. The movies are presented by the Bethesda Urban Partnership. For more information go to http://www.bethesda.org/bethesda/bethesda-outdoor-movies.
  • Tuesday, July 18: The Wizard of Oz
  • Wednesday, July 19: Field of Dreams
  • Thursday, July 20: Dead Poets Society
  • Friday, July 21: Hidden Figures
  • Saturday, July 22: La La Land

County Earns 31 National Association of Counties Awards

Montgomery County received 31 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Awards this year for outstanding programs.

The following departments received awards:

  • Correction and Rehabilitation - “A Comprehensive Stress Management Program for Correctional Employees”; “Department Intranet and Web Board”
  • Environmental Protection - “Montgomery County GreenFest”; “Stakeholder-Designed Energy Benchmarking Program”; “Watershed Restoration and Outreach Grant Program”
  • Finance and Environmental Protection – “Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program”
  • Finance and Risk Management - “Risk Management Safety & Health”
  • General Services - “Sustainable Government Communication Initiatives”
  • Health and Human Services - “Community Action Board’s Leadership Development Institute”; “Maternity Partnership Oral Health Initiative”
  • Housing and Community Affairs - “Licensing and Registration System”; “Multifamily Loans Portfolio Management System”
  • TechnologyServices- “CALMS – Case and Licensing Management System”; “Greenscapes; Expert GIS Map Creation in the Hands of GIS Novices”; “Mobile Bikeways”, “searchMontgomery”
  • Libraries - “Building Community Bridges During Crisis”; “Connecting Communities through Social Media”; “One Student, One School & One Library Card at a Time”; “What Do I Check Out Next?”
  • Recreation - “Chill”, “Food, Fun, Fitness and Fundamentals”; “100 Mile Challenge”; “Safe Walk Home”; “Tech Connect”
  • Police - “Montgomery County STEER”
  • Transportation - “GIS Data Collection of Culverts”; “Mobile Automatic Vehicle Locator”; “Nebel Street One-Way Separated Bike Lanes Project”; “Ride On Route 301 – Tobytown Isolated Community”; “Uninterruptable Power Supply / Battery Backup for Traffic Signals”

More information, about the awards, check NACO website.

May 19, 2017

Holiday Schedule for Memorial Day, Monday, May 29

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Memorial Day, Monday, May 29.
  • County Offices – closed 
  • Libraries - closed
  • County Liquor stores – all stores will be open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Recreation –all indoor and outdoor aquatic facilities will close at 6 p.m.; administrative offices, senior centers and community recreation centers will be closed
  • Montgomery Parks - Information available at website.
  • Ride On – will operate on a Sunday schedule. Check ride on holiday schedule.
  • Metrorail & Metrobus.
  • TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) – closed
  • Refuse/recycling pickup – no collection, collections scheduled on or after the holiday will be made one day later in the week
  • The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station - closed Memorial Day; will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 30. The Public Unloading Facility at the Route 355 (Frederick Road) entrance will operate with normal hours from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
  • MCPS and Administrative Offices – closed
  • State offices and courts – closed
Check montgomerycountymd.gov/holidays for upcoming holidays.

Montgomery County Council Reaches Unanimous Agreement on Fiscal Year 2018 Operating Budget

The Montgomery County Council reached unanimous preliminary agreement on a $5.4 billion County operating budget for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) on May 18. The budget included a 2.7 percent increase over on the approved budget for FY 2017. The budget strongly supported Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, the County’s public safety programs and the safety net services provided by the County and non-profit organizations.

The County Council is scheduled to formally adopt the FY18 operating budget on Thursday, May 25. The budget will go into effect on July 1. Updated information about the budget is available at http://tinyurl.com/mp2o2gj.

County Executive Ike Leggett on County Council Announcement of Operating Budget for FY18

County Executive Ike Leggett released this statement following the announcement of  tentative  County Council agreement on the Fiscal Year 2018 Operating Budget. The Council finally approves the budget on May 25.

Leggett stated, "I want to congratulate Council President Roger Berliner, the entire County Council, and Council staff on their constructive work on the County's Operating Budget for the fiscal year that begins this July 1.”
"This approved budget reflects our common priorities and values for the County for the upcoming years. It is prudent and provides a blueprint that should help us to weather some of the potential challenges posed by possible federal budget cutbacks as well as by slower revenue growth and needed ongoing expenditures. Together, we have balanced our County’s needs and top priorities with the resources available."

County Executive Ike Leggett Celebrates the Completion of Another Smart Growth Initiative Project

County Executive Ike Leggett celebrated the ribbon cutting for another of his Smart Growth Initiative projects, the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Central Maintenance Depot and Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Green Farm Maintenance Facility.
On May 17 County Executive Ike Leggett celebrated the completion of another of his Smart Growth Initiative projects, the Montgomery County Public Schools Central Maintenance Depot and Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Green Farm Maintenance Facility. This new campus of buildings will serve 204 schools and the vast Montgomery Parks system of parkland and facilities. More information is available from press release.

The Smart Growth Initiative is an award-winning comprehensive program initiated by Leggett to provide substantial economic opportunities for future growth in Montgomery County.

Montgomery County’s Department of General Services Continues to Build a Greener Montgomery County

As part of Montgomery County's commitment to achieving energy efficiency, the County purchased 16 new Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles (EV) that will be used by the Montgomery County Department of General Services and other agencies for miscellaneous purposes.

The Chevrolet Bolt is a 100%, electric-powered vehicle that utilizes energy stored in a lithium-ion battery pack produced by LG Chem. These 16 new Bolts are replacing 15 Chevrolet Cavaliers and Cobalts, and a Toyota Prius that will retire from service to the County.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy EVs, which run on electricity only, have several advantages over conventional vehicles. EVs convert 59 to 62 percent of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels. Conventional gasoline vehicles only convert 17 to 21 percent of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels. They are more environmentally friendly than fossil-fuel vehicles as they emit no tailpipe pollutants; and EVs provide quiet, smooth operation and stronger acceleration and require less maintenance than internal combustion engines.

Registration for Department of Recreation Summer Classes and Programs is Open

Registration for the Department of Recreation summer classes and programs is now open.
Among the many offerings are aquatics, art classes, sports, therapeutic recreation services, active adult senior programming and much more.

To view the guide and register online, go to ActiveMONTGOMERY.org. Print copies are available at community recreation centers, park facilities, aquatic centers, senior centers and public libraries.

County Executive Ike Leggett Announces New Homeownership Program

County Executive Ike Leggett announced a new program to help qualified applicants purchase a home with the support of the Montgomery Homeownership Program. The down payment assistance program is available for buyers with qualified incomes to purchase a Montgomery County home as their primary residence, up to a $429,000 sale price (up to $525,000, in certain neighborhoods.)

Applicants who qualify and are approved may access Down Payment Assistance loans in amounts up to $40,000 – or up to 40 percent of the household income of the prospective homeowner – whichever is less. Approved buyers also will receive a below-market rate Maryland Mortgage Program Loan.

Montgomery County has committed $1 million to this program; applications will be accepted while funds remain available.

For more information to apply, visit Montgomery Homeownership Program or press release.

Water Safety Day Offers Tips to Keep You Safe During the Summer Swim Season

The Montgomery County Department of Recreation and the cities of Gaithersburg and Rockville will host a free Water Safety Day event on Friday, June 2 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. The event will be held at the Water Park at Bohrer Park located at 512 S. Frederick Avenue in Gaithersburg.

The event will include information booths, lifeguard demonstrations, the proper use of personal flotation devices, how to safely assist someone struggling in the water, the importance of sunscreen to prevent skin damage and free swim lesson screenings.

Anyone attending Water Safety Day who visits the various information booths can stay for a free swim. Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

City of Rockville Presents Hometown Holidays Over the Memorial Day Weekend

The City of Rockville will host the Hometown Holidays Music Festival, Taste of Rockville and the annual Memorial Day parade over the Memorial Day weekend. The Hometown Holidays activities will include live entertainment on the Town Square Stage, the “the beach”, children’s activities include inflatables and amusements (for a fee). The event also features community groups located along East Montgomery Avenue. Learn more about all festival Happenings here.

County Cable Montgomery’s Bottom Line features story on Sean Pang, The Washington Post’s Montgomery Teacher of the Year

Sean Pang came to the United States from Hong Kong at age 6, knowing little English. While a student in Montgomery County Public Schools he learned English and went on to earn a teaching degree at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

Recently, his enthusiasm for teaching at Rockville High School earned him the distinction of being named the Montgomery County Teacher of the Year by The Washington Post. His remarkable story is one of three featured segments on the current edition of Bottom Line on County Cable Montgomery (CCM).

Bottom Line is viewable on Cable Channels 996 (high definition) and 6 (standard definition) on Comcast; Channels 1056 (HD) and 6 (SD) on RCN; and Channel 30 on Verizon. Bottom Line airs on Wednesdays on CCM on Monday at 12 noon, on Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. and on Sundays at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Susan Kenedy hosted and produced Bottom Line and Mike Springirth served as chief videographer and editor.

The 15-minute show is available on demand: https://youtu.be/O_rG3RJwfsM .The segment on Sean Pang can viewed at http://tinyurl.com/kv5n754 .

The Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs Expands Tenant Rights Tools

The Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) continues to expand its information and outreach by making new tenant rights tools available in six languages. The languages are English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Korean and Vietnamese.

DHCA translated the Landlord Tenant Handbook, Code Enforcement Handbook, Standard Multifamily Lease, and Lease Summary and will work to translate the Summary Code Enforcement and Landlord Tenant pamphlets.

To access these resources, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/tenantrights

Montgomery County Delegation Announces 2017 Session Accomplishments for the County

The 32-member Montgomery County Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly has announced its 2017 legislative accomplishments for the County. Read more.

GlaxoSmithKline Announces $139 Million Expansion for Rockville Site

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) a science-led global healthcare company, will invest $139 million to expand its Rockville manufacturing site. This expansion will provide extra capacity to meet the anticipated demand for a lupus drug GlaxoSmithKline is working on.

According to a Washington Business Journal article the manufacturing site has more than 400 employees. A GSK spokeswoman said the company doesn't anticipate making any new full-time hires but may award contracts to local construction companies. GSK's investment will go toward retrofitting an existing facility at the Rockville manufacturing site. It will also cover demolition of existing suites, engineering, installation and validation of equipment.

Read more at Washington Business Journal article.

Montgomery County Government Toastmaster Club Helps You Develop Confidence When Speaking in Front of an Audience

Pictured (center right) Montgomery County Government Toastmaster Dana Burke instructs a class of eager children from the Kids Public Speaking Workshop. The class’s participants were made up of students from Wheaton Woods Elementary School and hosted at the Rock Creek Terrace Community Center on Veirs Mill Rd. Burke developed the curriculum and served as the primary instructor.
The idea of public speaking causes agony for many of us. While a little nervousness may be okay, if the thought of speaking publicly brings on paralyzing terror, you may want to look for support. Montgomery County Government Toastmasters Club 1510, a branch of Toastmasters International, provides a supportive safe environment to help polish skills, develop confidence and learn techniques to manage anxiety when speaking in public. The club is filled with warm, caring professionals who work to better themselves and assist other members.

The meetings are held the first and third Wednesday of each month from 12:10 to 1:10 p.m. in Room 225 of the Council Office Building located at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. The meetings are open to the public. To learn more go to mcgtoastmasters.com.

The Taste of Wheaton is set for June 4

The Taste of Wheaton is the area's signature event highlighting some of Wheaton's most popular and award-winning restaurants. In addition to food offerings, the free festival features cooking demonstrations, beer and wine garden, live music and kids' rides & activities. The event will take place on June 4 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Wheaton Triangle at the corner of Grandview Avenue and Reedie Drive in downtown Wheaton (one block from the Wheaton Metro Station.)

Gaithersburg Book Festival Returns on Saturday May 20

The annual Gaithersburg Book Festival is scheduled for May 20 at the City of Gaithersburg City Hall located at 21 S. Summit Avenue. The festival will include more than 100 featured best-selling and award-winning authors—including Laura Lippman, David Swinson, J. Courtney Sullivan, Jami Attenberg, Dominic Smith, Sidney Blumenthal, Kay Redfield Jamison, Doreen Cronin, Tom Lichtenheld, Dave Roman, Sheila Turnage, Meg Medina, Michelle Knudsen, Carol Weston

Other activities will include free, interactive writing workshops for all ages, a Children’s Village, literary exhibitors, food and drink, the Brew and Vine Cafe featuring live entertainment, and on-site book sales by Politics & Prose. Admission, parking and accessible shuttle buses from Shady Grove Metro and Lakeforest Mall are FREE. For information, visit www.gaithersburgbookfestival.org.

Montgomery Parks Announces Public Hearing for the 2017 Park Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan

The public is invited to testify on the 2017 Park Recreation Open Space draft plan. Testimony will be heard on Thursday, May 25 scheduled for the 1 p.m. session. The hearing will be held at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Regional Office located at 8787 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.

Montgomery Parks staff will attend to listen and answer questions about the draft plan. Copies of the draft document, additional information about the project, schedule and public input is available online. An Executive Summary of the plan will be available on May 19. *Please visit the Montgomery Planning Board Agenda web page closer to the meeting as dates and times are subject to change.

The 2017 PROS Plan is prepared by Montgomery Parks, in coordination with the Montgomery County Department of Recreation. The PROS Plan will substitute for the state-mandated Land, Preservation, Parks, and Recreation Plan which is required every five to six years to maintain Program Open Space grant funding eligibility.

For more information or to sign up, visit website.

Taste the World in Fenton Village Scheduled for May 21

Whether you are a food enthusiast or someone looking for an enjoyable afternoon, the Taste the World in Fenton Village is the place for you. 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 event is scheduled for Sunday, May 21 from 1 to 5 p.m. 

More information is available at tastetheworld.fentonvillage.org.

Capital Improvements Program Public Forum

Montgomery Parks will hold the bi-annual Capital Improvements Program (CIP) public forum on Thursday, May 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Regional Office located at 8787 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.

The forum will provide an opportunity for the public to share their ideas and suggestions on how to improve parks. For more information or to sign up to speak at the forum, call (301) 495-2534 or email Katelyn.Bentley@MontgomeryParks.org.

Additional information about the program, schedules and how to contribute is available at MontgomeryParks.org.

May 4, 2017

$100 Million in I-270 Congestion Relief Announced

Commuters will soon see a break in the I 270 congestion. County Executive Ike Leggett joined Governor Larry Hogan, State Highway Administrator Gregory Slater, and representatives from the winning firms to announce the advancement of the state’s $100 million I-270 Innovative Congestion Management Project. This program is expected to save drivers up to 30 minutes on their morning commute southbound from Frederick to I-495.

The plan will use innovative traffic management solutions to allow vehicles to move more efficiently along I-270 between I-70 and I-495. Final design is underway this spring with construction to begin this fall. The entire project will be completed in 2019.

Read more from press release.

Montgomery County Recreation Department Extend Summer Programs Due to Later Start Date of the School Year

The Montgomery County Recreation Department has extended summer programs to help families who may not have the option to take off additional weeks from work to care for their children. This follows the executive order that Gov. Larry Hogan signed last fall, which required Maryland’s public schools to start classes after Labor Day, beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. Montgomery County Public Schools traditionally started the school year on the first Monday of the last full week in August.

County Executive Ike Leggett announced that the Recreation Department’s summer camp programs will be extended this summer at a press event on April 6. Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jack Smith, Board of Education Vice President Dr. Judith Docca and Department of Recreation Director Gabe Albornoz joined Leggett for the announcement.

Montgomery County Recreation added more than 40 additional full or half-day programs. This included six Summer Fun Centers (SFC), which are the Department of Recreation’s most affordable summer day programs. These SFC were positioned to serve communities with the greatest number of families eligible for the RecAssist, which is the Department of Recreation’s financial assistance program. Find information about summer programs.

Author Charles Lane Speaks on Civil War Reconstruction in Louisiana at Libraries Conversation Hosted by County Executive Ike Leggett this Sunday Evening

County Executive Ike Leggett will host the third Contemporary Conversations which will feature author Charles Lane who will discuss his book The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of Reconstruction. The event is scheduled for Sunday, May 7 at 6 p.m. at the Silver Spring Library located at 900 Wayne Avenue in Silver Spring.

The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of Reconstruction tells story of the Post-Civil War event in Colfax, Louisiana, where African Americans and whites mingled uneasily. On April 13, 1873, a small army of white ex–Confederate soldiers, enraged after attempts by freedmen to assert their new rights, killed more than sixty African Americans who had occupied a courthouse.

Registration is required for this free event. Visit website to sign up.

This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Library, Silver Spring Chapter. This Contemporary Conversations is hosted by the County Executive Ike Leggett.