January 26, 2017

County Executive Ike Leggett Responds to $15 Minimum Wage Bill

After considerable review, County Executive Ike Leggett responded to Bill 12-16, (Human Rights and Civil Liberties – County Minimum Wage Bill) on January 23. Bill 12-16 called for the gradual increase of the County’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020. County Council sent the Minimum Wage Bill to Leggett after approving it in a 5 to 4 vote. Although Leggett supports a movement toward a $15 wage, Leggett cited reservations about the timing, circumstances and conditions of the bill.

In a January 23 memorandum to County Council, Leggett summarized three stipulations necessary for him to fully agree to the bill:
  • Be based on an expeditious study on the direct and indirect financial impacts on private employers, non-profits and County government; 
  • Include an exemption for small business, the definition of which can be informed by the study; 
  • Include an exemption for youth workers; and, 
  • Provide for reaching $15 per hour in 2022. 
Please see more at Washington Post on Leggett's strategy. Please click here to view a copy of the County Executive’s memo to the County Council.

Montgomery County Launches Partnership with National Association of Counties to Provide Low-Fee Dental and Select Health Services

County Executive Isiah Leggett and Councilmember George Leventhal announced at a news briefing on January 12, that Montgomery County will begin participating in the National Association of Counties (NACo) Live Healthy program.

Montgomery County has offered NACo’s free prescription discount program (Montgomery RX) since 2004. This has saved residents more than $32 million on the cost of prescription medications. This new enhanced program provides residents with low-fee dental discounts on such services as check-ups, cleanings, fillings, crowns and more. The low-fee health discount program provides discounts on vision services, hearing aids and screenings, diabetes supplies and more.

For more information on how to participate go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/live-healthy or Watch video about the program.

Leggett Announces Capital Construction Budget: Full Funding for School Needs, Resources to Rapid Transit, White Oak Redevelopment, South County Rec & Aquatic Center, Core Infrastructure

County Executive Ike Leggett released his recommended Fiscal Year 18 Capital Budget and amendments to the six-year FY17-22 Capital Improvements Program on January 12. The budget recommends over $2 billion for education, including $1.73 billion for the Montgomery County Public Schools, the highest funding level ever provided, as well as $332 million for Montgomery College.

For more information, visit reports.data.montgomerycountymd.gov/cip.

Leggett will release his proposed operating budget on March 14.

County Executive Ike Leggett Joins Thousands of Residents in Community Service Projects on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

County Executive Ike Leggett and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority work on a community service project
 at the Silver Spring Civic Building.
More than 3,000 volunteers across Montgomery County pitched in to help make our community a better place on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The annual event, organized by the Montgomery County Volunteer Center and many other partnering agencies, featured a wide range of family-friendly service projects at locations throughout the County. 

Projects included everything from packaging food for the hungry and making dog toys for an animal shelter to creating blankets for hospices and crafting appreciation cards for military troops.

Montgomery County’s Office of Human Rights Co-Sponsors Maryland Civil Rights Educational Freedom Experience

Registration is open for the Maryland Civil Rights Educational Freedom Experience that will retrace the steps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights heroes. The tour is hosted by the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, in collaboration with the Montgomery County Public Libraries, the African American Employees Association, the Lincoln Park Historical Foundation and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

The trip will take place April 8 through April 16, which corresponds with Montgomery County Public Schools spring break.

Highlights on the tour include the Birth Home Museum of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; the new National Center for Civil and Human Rights; the Civil Rights Memorial Museum; the International Civil Rights Center and Museum; the Rosa Parks Museum; the Freedom Rides Museum; the National Voting Rights Museum; the famed Sixteenth Street Baptist Church; the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge; the Central High School, Fisk University, Medgar Evers’ Home and the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel.

For registration, itinerary and information on the cost of the tour, visit County website.

Takoma Park to Hold Community Teach-In On its Sanctuary City Status and Commitment

The City of Takoma Park and several community organizations will host a public forum, Takoma Park: Sanctuary City — Then & Now on Saturday, February 4 at 3 p.m. The program will explore the City’s 30-year-old Sanctuary ordinance and its amendments, and will underscore the City’s ongoing commitment to protect its immigrant residents under the letter and spirit of the law. Takoma Park is one of 300+ sanctuary jurisdictions throughout the nation.

For more information:

Montgomery County Public Libraries Celebrates Library Lovers Month

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) will kick off Library Lovers Month on January 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with an enjoyable family-friendly event. The event will take place at the Twinbrook branch located at 202 Meadow Hall Drive in Rockville. Library Lovers Month is held annually to celebrate and showcase the importance of libraries in Montgomery County.

County Executive Ike Leggett and Council President Roger Berliner will join the celebration to officially proclaim February as Library Lovers Month. MCPL Director Parker Hamilton and Friends of the Library Montgomery County Executive Director Ari Z. Brooks will make brief welcoming remarks.

Family entertainer, Groovy Nate, will perform a lively concert emphasizing how music promotes peace, love and understanding. Door prizes and family activities will be featured throughout the day.

For more information on Libraries Loves programs offered throughout the month of February.

Montgomery County Recognizes Bell Nursery’s Veriflora Sustainably Grown Certification and Innovative Efforts to Become a Leader in Environmental and Social Responsibility

Montgomery County's Green Business Certification Program recently added Bell Nursery to the Green Business Directory for their business practices which reduce harmful impacts on the environment. Bell Nursery is the largest wholesale nursery grower in the mid-Atlantic, producing and shipping tens of millions of plants annually.

Montgomery County, Maryland’s Green Business Certification Program is a voluntary recognition program designed to encourage businesses and other organizations to take steps that reduce their ecological footprint. Earning Green Business Certification demonstrates that businesses are part of an innovative leadership movement to green their business operations and help transition to a sustainable future.

Watch this video which gives more information about the program.  More information is available on Montgomery County’s Green Business Certification Program at www.mcgreenbiz.org.

Peerless Rockville to Kick-off Spring Educational Series

County Executive Ike Leggett will participate in the Peerless Rockville event to kick-off off their spring education series. This year’s theme is "Emancipation to Integration: 150 Years of Advancement in Educational Equality."

This exhibit and series celebrates the fight for educational equality in Rockville with monthly programs that will highlight the efforts of the local African-American community to secure quality educational opportunities for their children after emancipation, through the

challenges of separate and unequal segregated schools, and the experiences of desegregation following Brown vs. Board of Education.

For more information on the dates and times of the event go to flyer and www.peerlessrockville.org.

Author David O. Stewart to Speak on Lincoln's Legacy

Author David O. Stewart will speak to the Montgomery County Civil War Roundtable on Thursday, February 9 at 8 pm on his book “Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy.”

The presentation will be at the Gaithersburg Hilton, 620 Perry Parkway in Gaithersburg. A $5 donation is requested. Call 301-253-3485 for more information.

January 13, 2017

Holiday Schedule for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
  • County Offices – closed 
  • Libraries – closed 
  • County Liquor stores – all stores will be open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Recreation – aquatics programs and facilities open; all other classes and programs canceled; administrative offices, senior centers and community centers closed 
  • Montgomery Parks - for operating schedule, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks, tennis centers, trains and carousels, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org
  • Ride On – will run a special Holiday Schedule. Click on route number in this link to see the timetable for each route: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DOT-Transit/SpecialHoliday.html
  • 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 collection on Monday. Trash will be collected on a sliding schedule for the week, which means all collections will be made one day later that week, last collection day is Saturday. Trash should be curbside by 7 a.m. on scheduled pick-up day 
  • 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

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee will host a community celebration to honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” is the theme for this year’s public celebration.

The free event, scheduled for Monday, Jan. 16 at 3:30 p.m. will be held at the Music Center at Strathmore located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda.

The Celebration will open with a poem titled “From Montgomery Alabama to Montgomery County,” performed by local actors, students and volunteers. Other performances will include dance ensembles, vocalists, choirs and a special presentation of “Justice In America” by Joy of Motion Dance Center performers.

The event is free, however, each guest is required to have a ticket. Early reservation for tickets are recommended as the event is likely to fill to capacity. Tickets are available through the ticket office at website or by calling 301-581-5100.

The Music Center at Strathmore is located immediately adjacent to the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station, on the Red Line. Free parking is available.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a Day ON not a Day OFF!

Join thousands of other local residents in honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and teachings by taking part in Montgomery County’s MLK Day of Service 2017, Monday, January 16. This annual event, organized by the Montgomery County Volunteer Center and our many partner agencies, will feature a wide variety of coordinated family-friendly service projects at locations across the County, providing residents of all ages with ways to help our community. More information is available on website.

County Executive Requests Residents’ Feedback to Determine Priorities for the FY18 Budget

County Executive Ike Leggett will host his final three budget forums in the upcoming weeks. The purpose of the meetings is to gather resident input on their priorities for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget. Join discussion at #MontCoFY18budgetforum. (Presentation Slide | Press Release)
All resident suggestions and ideas submitted during the forums will assist the County Executive to prepare for his FY 18 Budget. The budget will be submitted to the County Council on March 15.

Montgomery County’s 2016 Economic Development Success Stories

Under the leadership of County Executive Ike Leggett, 2016 was a successful year for Montgomery County's Economic Development initiatives. From the Marriott Corporation's decision to build a new headquarters in the county to the privatization of economic development and workforce development, Montgomery County consistently demonstrated its dedication to make Montgomery County a great place for businesses to start, grow and thrive. Learn more about the economic development success stories of 2016.

Good Neighbors Clear Their Sidewalks of Ice and Snow

When winter storms hit, residents are reminded to clear sidewalks in front of and along their property lines within 24 hours of the snowfall. Clearing sidewalks is not only the law but it is the right thing to do to make sure everyone has a safe path to walk. For more information, visit montgomerycountymd.gov/safesidewalks or watch video from YouTube.

Montgomery County Recreation Starts the New Year with the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge

Montgomery County Recreation, for the second year, challenges everyone to get out and walk, jog, run a mile or more, or participate in 20 minutes of continuous physical activity like biking, swimming, yoga, aerobics, skiing, weightlifting, dancing or others.

The goal of the program is to complete 100 miles (or more) in 100 days. Twenty minutes of continuous physical activity also counts as one mile. Registration is available at ActiveMONTGOMERY.org using activity number 26595.

The 100 Mile Challenge will kick off with a fun event at the Holiday Park Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Drive, Wheaton on Saturday, January 21 from 2 to 4 p.m. The event will include a healthy taste testing reception, fitness activities, a Zumba dance group activity and body fat analysis. All participants will receive a T-shirt, water bottle and swag bag at the event. Speakers will include Nicky and Bob Lowry who will discuss their adventures climbing Mt. Everest this past spring.

For information, call 240-777-6840, or go online to website.

Office of Consumer Protection

The County’s Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) investigates and resolves complaints throughout the year. Take a look at the short video which outlines some of the 2016 resolved complaints.

Registration to Open for Summer Camps and Programs on January 17

Even though we are in the middle of the winter chill, Montgomery County Recreation has their thoughts on butterflies, flip flops and outdoor pools. Registration for summer camps will open on January 17 with hundreds of affordably-priced offerings; including arts, nature, science and sports programs.

Camps and summer programs are available for tots to teens and all skill levels at locations throughout the County. Early registration is encouraged because space is limited and signups are handled on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.

January is National Radon Action Month

During the month of January, Montgomery County has joined a nationwide effort to educate homeowners and renters on the dangers of radon gas and the importance of testing every home. Radon Action Month focuses on the steps we can take to help ensure our homes are safe and radon free.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, radon is responsible for roughly 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer and the number one cause of lung cancer for non-smokers.

January is an especially good time to test homes for radon because windows and doors are closed tightly and people spend more time indoors. Testing typically happens in the basement or first floor of a building since radon enters a home through cracks and other openings in the foundation.

In awareness of Radon Action Month, the County’s Department of Environmental Protection has developed a new radon brochure with information on testing and the 2016 Radon Home Sale testing law. The brochure is available at website and will be distributed at libraries and regional service centers.

For more information on radon, testing and finding a radon mitigation contractor, visit the new DEP radon website.

Senior Groups Encouraged to Schedule a Keeping Seniors Safe Presentation

Did you know that the Montgomery County Police Department’s Volunteer Resources Section coordinates free Keeping Seniors Safe (KSS) presentations for County senior organizations and neighborhood groups? The KSS program provides outreach to seniors on topics such as frauds and scams against seniors, identity theft, elder abuse, emergency preparedness and County resources especially for senior residents. Everyone can benefit from learning more about how to improve personal safety. For additional information visit website. To schedule a presentation at your organization’s meeting or event, contact the Volunteer Resources Section at 240-773-5625 or email Police.KSS@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Firefighters Battle Resource Recovery Facility Fire

Firefighters were called to a fire at the Resource Recovery Facility on December 8. The facility is located at 21204 Martinsburg Road in Dickerson. The fire began on the tipping floor, which is the area where trucks drive in to dump waste. Firefighters remained on site monitoring the fire through December 19.

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) remained on the scene throughout the incident. DEP installed air portable monitors in four locations to measure both particulates and toxics and conducted water sampling from the discharge pond.

The Office of Emergency Management used the Alert Montgomery and land-line notification systems to update residents about the fire. The fire did not impact single-family residential curbside trash pick-up, however, commercial customers were temporarily diverted to other facilities.

Fitness After 50—It’s Never Too Late to Start!

There are many reasons why regular exercise and physical activity are important to everyone, including older adults. Check out this updated list of fitness options available across the County or download flyer in pdf format.

Helping Others is All in a Day’s Work for Three Highway Services’ Employees

In December, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) received an email stating that “leaf collection men helped save my dog – KUDOS.” The three heroic MCDOT Highway Services’ employees were Donald Thompson, Keith Howard and Doug Jones – all from Highway’s Silver Spring Depot.

This started on Saturday, December 3, when three large dogs bolted away from their dog walker to attack a dog being walked by its owner. The dog owner laid down on his beloved pet in the middle of the street to shield it from the other dogs. Lying face down, he heard a friendly voice telling him that it was safe to get up. Thompson, Howard and Jones who had been nearby working on one of MCDOT’s leaf vacuum collection crews saw what was happening and came to the rescue. They grabbed the attacking dogs’ leashes to pull them away and return them to the dog walker. The owner’s dog was unharmed, but the shaken gentleman felt he did not properly thank the men who acted so quickly to help – and that is when he wrote to MCDOT to explain what had happened.

“I wanted to let you know how grateful I am for their willingness to take this action,” said the dog owner.

“I commend Donald Thompson, Keith Howard and Doug Jones, who didn’t hesitate to go above and beyond during a difficult situation and take fast action to help someone,” said MCDOT Director Al Roshdieh upon receiving the email. “To the dog owner, these three employees are real heroes. And they are to us, too. Our MCDOT staff are special – they are dedicated and hardworking and do an exemplary job. That’s why it’s always so great to hear from residents not only about efforts that our staff make in extraordinary circumstances, but also about the great service they provide day in and day out.”

Montgomery County Young Women Participate in White House Events

( L to R) Shantavia Craigg, First Lady Michelle Obama, Natasha Yakanda
Photo credit: Crittenton Services of Greater Washington 

Montgomery County young women participating with Crittenton Services of Greater Washington
recently participated in a series of national events presented by the White House Council on Women and Girls.

Shantavia Craigg of John F. Kennedy High School and Natasha Yakanda of Gaithersburg High School, had the opportunity to speak their minds on gender equality, racism, and the elimination of all forms of social injustice for girls of color at the United State of Women Summit. Crittenton Services of Greater Washington alumnae also participated in "Young Women Leading the Way: Breaking Barriers for Girls and by Girls," presented by the White House in November.

In December, John F. Kennedy High School graduate and Montgomery College graduate, Leteria Bailey, introduced keynote speaker Vanita Gupta - Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, head of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, at the Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color: Continuing Progress and Building Toward Change White House event.

Crittenton Services of Greater Washington girls participated in an event dedicated to women in Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) - specifically, American space exploration where First Lady, Michelle Obama made remarks. The program included a question and answer component on the four eras of women in space, a screening of the new film Hidden Figures and a panel discussion with the film's starring actors.

Crittenton Services of Greater Washington empowers vulnerable teen girls to overcome obstacles, make positive choices, and achieve their goals through programs in schools throughout the Greater Washington area. For more information about the program go to website.

Winning Design Selected in Poster Competition for Wheaton Arts Parade

Garrett Goltz, a senior at Winston Churchill High School won the prize for the winning design in the Wheaton Arts Parade poster competition. The faculty at Albert Einstein High School, Visual and Performing Arts Academy selected Goltz’s design from entries from multiple Montgomery County Public High School students.

The design will be featured on parade posters, programs, banners and other marketing materials. The design captures the parade theme, "Parade the Triangle," and how the parade will bring Wheaton's diverse citizens, cultures, and commerce together to celebrate visual and performing arts. Wheaton is one of three Maryland Arts & Entertainment Districts in Montgomery County.

The parade and arts festival is scheduled to take place in Wheaton on September 24. Information about the parade can be found on website.