June 21, 2018

Holiday Schedule for Independence Day, July 4

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for the Independence Day holiday, July 4:

Montgomery County Host Fireworks Shows in Germantown and Kensington

Montgomery County Recreation is hosting two fireworks displays on Wednesday, July 4.

The Independence Day celebrations will take place at the following locations:

Germantown Glory at South Germantown Recreational Park located at 18041 Central Park Circle in Germantown (Boyds); Mid-County Sparkles at Albert Einstein High School located at 11135 Newport Road in Kensington.

Germantown Glory kicks off at 7 p.m. with a concert by Gringo Jingo performing the best of Santana. Follow the signs for free on-site parking. Mid-County Sparkles begins at 7:30 p.m. with a concert by Quiet Fire, a soul, rhythm and blues, a rock band that covers hits from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

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, which is located at 11160 Veirs Mill Road. Parking at Westfield Wheaton opens at 6 p.m. Event-goers who park at Westfield Wheaton prior to 6 p.m. may be subject to towing by the property owner. Shuttle service will begin at 6:15 p.m.

The firework displays will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m. at both celebrations. The rain date for the fireworks display only is July 5.

For more information, call MC311 at 311 or 240-777-0311 or visit the Montgomery County Recreation website.

Preliminary Primary Election Returns Will be Available on County Website the Evening of Primary Election Day

Up-to-the moment Election Day results for the June 26 Primary Election will be available on the County’s Board of Elections website after the polls close on June 26.

Votes cast during early voting are counted on Election Day and released shortly after 8 p.m. Known, unofficial, results from Election Day are scheduled to be available beginning at 9:20 p.m. and are updated every 25 minutes. Absentee and provisional ballots will be counted beginning June 28 with complete, unofficial results expected by July 10.

Statement by County Executive Ike Leggett on Stormwater Management Capital Projects

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett made the following statement on the County Council’s intent to reform the stormwater management program.

“I am pleased that the County Council signaled its intent to approve the reform of our stormwater management construction program, which will enhance our ability to meet important environmental goals and will support projects designed to meet our State-mandated MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) permit.

Upon final approval by the Council, it will keep Montgomery County as the leader in protecting the environment, giving us the most efficient and cost-effective method to meet our MS4 permit requirements with minimal delays and without an increased burden on our taxpayers.”

Montgomery County Minimum Wage Increases on July 1

Minimum wage is set to rise in Montgomery County on July 1. The size of the increase is determined by the number of workers employed by the business. The bill states that County businesses with 51 or more employees must pay workers $12.25 hourly. Employers with 50 or fewer workers must pay employees $12 hourly.

County Executive Ike Leggett signed Bill 28-17, concerning Human Rights and Civil Liberties – County Minimum Wage, on November 17, 2017.

Effective date
Large employer
Mid-sized employer
Small employer
July 1, 2018
July 1, 2019
July 1, 2020
July 1, 2021
July 1, 2022
$15+ CPI-W

CPI-W = Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers

An employer who provides "home health services" or "home or community-based services" and receives at least 75 percent of gross revenues through state and federal Medicaid programs, may apply to the Office of Human Rights for designation as an eligible services provider subject to an adjusted implementation schedule.

The minimum wage does not apply to employees younger than 19 years old who work fewer than 20 hours per week. However, an employer may pay a wage equal to 85 percent to employees under the age of 20 years for the first six months that the employee is employed.

More information about Bill 28-17, visit County website.

Enforcement of the law is handled through the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Free Foreign Film Series Comes to Montgomery College

Montgomery College has a full lineup of entertaining foreign films as part of its Monday evening film series. All films begin at 7 p.m. and are open to the public. The films are shown at the Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center located at 51 Mannakee Street in Rockville.

Visit the website to see the summer schedule, which continues through August 27.

Free Concerts Available All Summer

Summer concerts are a perfect way to end a long day or get a jump start on the weekend. Pack a picnic and take advantage of the many concerts located throughout the County.

The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County has put together a comprehensive listing of concerts to ensure that you don’t miss a show.

Online Form Available for Employers Required to File Minimum Wage Report for Tipped Employees

minimum wage increase effective July 1st, 2018.
The Montgomery County Office of Human Rights has announced an online form is available for all employers who are required to file quarterly wage reports for tipped employees.

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and County Council passed Montgomery County Code, Chapter 27-Human Rights and Civil Liberties, Section 27-69 to establish a base pay for tipped employees in 2015. The law requires that each qualifying tipped employee is paid the minimum Tipped Credit Wage of $4 an hour and must be paid an additional amount to equal, in total, the current minimum wage during each quarter. Employers are required to file a wage report within 30 days after the end of each quarter.

The online form is available at the Office of Human Rights website. More information is available on Montgomery County’s minimum wage and overtime law, or see the minimum wage transition table.

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

If you know an exceptional person, team, or organization who has strengthened our community through arts and humanities, here is a way to get them the recognition they deserve. The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County is accepting nominations for the 2018 County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities.

To nominate a deserving artist or organization for these awards, visit the online nomination site and submit your nomination by Sunday, July 15.

Nominations are currently being accepted for the following awards:
  • Education Award
  • Community Award
  • Volunteer Award
  • Outstanding Artist or Scholar Award
  • Business or Individual Patron Award
  • Emerging Leader Award
This is the 17th year for this special ceremony, which will be presented on Monday, October 29, at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center located on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus. More information is available here.

Montgomery Parks’ Host Free FIFA World Cup Watch Party on Saturday, June 23

Montgomery Parks will host a FIFA World Cup Watch Party on Saturday, June 23. The free event is located at the at the Wheaton Sports Pavilion located at 11751 Orebaugh Avenue. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. with kick-off slated for 11 a.m. This matchup, between Mexico and South Korea, will be shown on a blow-up big-screen in a family-friendly atmosphere.

The Open House offers visitors an up-close look at the facility and provides an opportunity to meet representatives from the Montgomery County Department of Recreation, Shadow of The Almighty (S.O.T.A.M.) Futbal Academy, and Play It Again Sports.

Food trucks will be on-site, and there will be children’s games to keep the young ones happy.

More information, visit montgomeryparks.org/events/wheaton-sports-pavilion-world-cup-viewing-party.

Calling all Painters, Potters, Poets and Photographers; Beacon Newspaper Art Contest for Amateur Artists 50 and Older

In whatever arts you shine, you are invited to enter your works in the Beacon's online Celebration of the Arts — a competition for amateur artists 50 and older.

Winners will receive awards, cash prizes (up to $100), as well as the opportunity to exhibit in one or more area galleries. In addition, photos of all artists and their works will be published in a special “Celebration of the Arts” section to be printed in an upcoming issue of the Beacon.

For complete rules and to enter the competition, go to Beacon Arts Celebration. This online competition is open through June 29.

Gaithersburg Ranked Among Top 10 Best Cities for STEM Workers

Based on data collected by Livability.com, a website that explores what makes small-to-medium sized cities ideal places to live, the City of Gaithersburg ranked in the top 10 of a 2018 listing of Best Cities for STEM Workers, coming in at No. 6. The site analyzed data from 2,000 cities and towns across the country, looking at such factors as the share of total jobs that fall into the STEM category, the median income for those jobs, and the median income for STEM jobs in relation to overall median income within each city. Number one on the list was Huntsville, Alabama.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 8.6 million STEM jobs in 2015, with that number expected to grow by 13 percent through 2025. The national average salary for STEM jobs is $87,570.

June 6, 2018

Montgomery County Council Approves County’s $5.6 billion Operating Budget and $4.5 billion six-year Capital Budget; Prioritizes Education and Public Safety

The Montgomery County Council has approved the County’s $5.6 billion Fiscal Year(FY) 2019 Operating Budget, the FY19 Capital Budget, and the FY19-24 Capital Improvements Program (CIP). The Council approved a $4.5 billion FY19-24 CIP to fund school construction, infrastructure improvements and community projects.

The operating budget funds Montgomery County Public Schools and supports Montgomery College, the County’s Police Department, the Fire and Rescue Service and essential health and human services programs. The Council agreed to add nearly $6.7 million to the operating budget to maintain existing service levels and to minimize call response times for residents during emergencies. The budget also sets aside funding for the County’s FY19 revenue goal of 9.4 percent of adjusted governmental revenues. Funding for this financial obligation helps the County retain its AAA bond rating.

See the full approved FY 19 budget.

County Executive Ike Leggett Vetoes Line-Item in the Capital Improvement Budget

For the first time in his nearly 12 years as County Executive, Ike Leggett has vetoed a line-item appropriation of the Capital Improvement Program approved by County Council. Leggett vetoed appropriations for the Montgomery County’s Clean Water and Permit Compliance Program.

In his recommended FY19 Capital Budget, Leggett recommended a Design/Build/Maintain approach for future stormwater management projects.

The proposed method is a contracting approach, which procures a single contractor to design, build and maintain projects. Currently, the County uses separate contracts for design, construction, and maintenance and tasks the work on a project-by-project basis. Leggett stated that contracting reform is necessary to improve the effectiveness and efficiencies of the County’s construction of stormwater management projects and to hold down increases for the taxpayer. Council voted 5-4 against Leggett’s proposal.

On June 1, Leggett submitted a memorandum to County Council President Hans Riemer which outlined why he exercised the veto. The authority for Leggett’s veto is in accordance with the provisions of the County Charter.

Leggett stated in the memorandum “I regret that you and the Council majority have made this veto necessary. Playing politics with a critical environmental issue, doubling down on a costly and inefficient status quo, and kicking the proverbial can down the road will never be confused with effective governance.”

League of Women Voters Presents Voters’ Guide 2018 Primary Election

The League of Women Voters of Montgomery County publishes the Voters’ Guide that includes information on voting, as well as candidates’ responses, in their own words, to questions on a variety of issues. The Voters’ Guide can assist you in your decision-making process as you prepare to vote in the Primary Election on June 26 or at early voting locations from June 14 to June 21. This primary election includes voting for candidates for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, Governor, State Senate and House of Delegates, County Executive, County Council and Board of Education.

The League, a non-partisan organization of women and men who promote informed participation in government, does not support or oppose any political party or candidate.

There are three ways to get the Voters’ Guide:
  1. Online at vote411.org - an interactive guide for voting information and comparisons of all the candidates’ responses. 
  2. A print copy is available throughout Montgomery County at locations such as libraries, service, senior and community recreation centers. This Guide contains fewer responses of candidates in competitive races, than in online versions.
  3. Two printable Voters' Guides in PDF format - one contains all candidates’ responses and the other is the same as the paper copy is available online at lwvmocomd.org.

Senior Safety Forum in Recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Did you know that in Montgomery County age 60-and-over senior population is increasing faster than the County’s total population?

On Thursday, June 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the County will hold its 8th annual Senior Safety Forum in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It takes place at the Holiday Park Senior Center located at 3950 Ferrara Drive in Silver Spring. Over 50 exhibitors will provide resources for Montgomery County seniors. There will be presentations on topics such as personal safety, financial safety and safe driving tips for seniors. There will also be live musical entertainment, lots of raffle prizes, blood pressure checks and FREE box lunches while supplies last.

This is the perfect opportunity to build senior safety connections that are both importantly factual and fun. Here is more senior safety information.

Heritage Days Return to Montgomery County

Heritage Days is a countywide festival featuring programs and activities for people of all ages and interests. The event takes place on Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24 from noon to 4 p.m. Programs will feature Civil War and agricultural history, the stories of local railroads and trolleys, historic African American communities and more.

Local arts and culture as well as outdoor recreation, including biking, hiking, and walking tours, are also highlighted. Many venues offer musical entertainment, children’s activities and refreshments.

This is Heritage Montgomery’s 21st year for hosting this celebration. For a complete list of all the locations and scheduled events, download brochure.

NOTE: The Heritage Days program at the Red Brick Courthouse in Rockville has been canceled due to unexpected construction at the courthouse.

Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation is Hiring

The Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (DOCR) is hiring for various correctional/public safety positions. These are great career opportunities for individuals interested in public safety, medical, social work/counseling and food services to name a few.

Spread the word about these career opportunities - great pay and benefits. Foreign-language proficiency is a plus! For more information, contact DOCR’s Human Resources Section directly at 240-777-9759, MC311 or visit the Department’s website.

The Atlantic Hurricane and Summer Storm Season Has Begun

“When thunder roars, go indoors!” The Atlantic Hurricane and Summer Storm season began on June 1 and will run through November.

Do you know the difference between a Severe Thunderstorm “Watch” and a “Warning?” The County’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security has provided important safety tips and information to help keep you and your family safer during the summer storm season. Take some time to review and prepare before the storm.

Most important, make sure that you are signed up to receive the emergency warnings from the County’s Alert Montgomery system.

Health Officials Urge Residents to Take Steps to Protect Against West Nile and Zika Virus; Reduce Mosquitoes — Get Rid of Breeding Sites

Now that we are into the warmer months, health officials urge residents to protect against mosquito bites.

Residents can help themselves and the community by getting rid of mosquito breeding spots. Mosquitoes breed in small amounts of water. Eliminate standing water in and around your home. Throw out or frequently empty and scrub items that hold water such as buckets, planters, toys, pools, and birdbaths.

Dispose of trash such as plastic bags, bottle caps, open drink cans or bottles, disposable cups and food wrappers where water can pool.

Keep mosquitoes out of your home by using air conditioning if possible. Make sure windows and doors have screens on them and those screens are in good repair. Clean out roof gutters and down-spouts. Ensure tarps and swimming pool covers are positioned so water drains.

More information about controlling mosquitos is available at montgomerycountymd.gov/mosquito.

Award-winning Author Dinaw Mengestu Joins the Contemporary Conversations@ MCPL Series and Big Read Montgomery

Award-winning author and MacArthur Foundation Fellow Dinaw Mengestu is the featured speaker for Montgomery County Public Libraries’ Contemporary Conversations and Big Read Montgomery event. The program will be held at the Silver Spring Library located at 900 Wayne Avenue on Saturday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m. Registered guests are invited to a reception at 6:30 p.m. to meet the author. Refreshments will be served.

Mengestu will discuss his personal immigrant experience and his award-winning, debut novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears. The book tells the story of the immigrant experience in Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County. A graduate of Georgetown and Columbia universities, Mengestu came to the United States at the age of two; a move that reunited his family after his father was forced to flee their home in Ethiopia. Mengestu has published in Harper’s Magazine, Granta, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal.

This event closes a two-month celebration of Big Read Montgomery, which featured varied programs that celebrated the diverse immigrant experiences of residents through discussions about The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears.

More information, including registration information, is available online.

Montgomery County to Host 22nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration with a Barbecue, Entertainment and Award Ceremony

 download flyer
The County’s 22nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration is scheduled for Friday, June 15. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the program will begin at 6:25 p.m. The event will be held at the BlackRock Center for the Arts located at 12901 Town Commons Drive in Germantown.

The free event, hosted by County Executive Ike Leggett, highlights the contributions of African Americans who are living legends in our community. The program focuses on the service of the honorees whose contributions are in various fields including business, health, media, sports, education, law, ministry, community organizations, medicine or the arts. These residents have shaped the cultural heritage and richness of our African American community.

After the ceremony and program, an old-fashioned barbecue dinner will be served, followed by a special presentation of the acclaimed movie Marshall. The film looks at the achievements of young Thurgood Marshall whose legal genius in Brown v Board of Education of Topeka, paved the way for the most impactful victory in the quest for freedom and equality in the history of the United States since the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Throughout the program, Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological & Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) winners of the Montgomery County NAACP Branch will provide entertainment.

For more information and registration go to montgomerycountymd.gov/humanrights.

Office of Consumer Protection Warns Residents to Avoid Purchasing from Door-to-Door Meat Vendors

It is the start of the summer barbecue season and that means that door-to-door meat salespeople are again making their rounds in neighborhoods across the County. The County’s Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) warns residents to be wary of purchasing meat from a salesperson who comes knocking at your door.

Each year OCP hears from multiple county consumers who state they have been taken advantage of by door-to-door meat vendors. OCP is currently investigating a complaint from a resident who reports she was cheated out of $800 from a salesman who sold her bad beef. OCP advises residents that even though it may seem like a good deal, that it is best to not purchase from someone who shows up at your door with meat for sale.

WAMU 88.5, a local news radio station, recently talked to OCP Director Eric Friedman about how to protect against a door to door meat sellers. 
OCP is responsible for enforcing consumer protection laws (Chapter 11 of the County code), which prohibit unfair and deceptive business acts to ensure a fair marketplace for consumers and businesses. The OCP website has a listing of other current consumer scams and other information to protect consumers.

OCP recommends against the purchase, however, if you decide to take the risk, the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service has developed a safety information sheet with information that is available here.

Montgomery County’s Liquor Control Improves Online Ordering Platform

The Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control (DLC) has improved its iStore, the online ordering platform that businesses within the county use to order beer, wine, and spirits.

The enhanced system is a modernized online marketplace to provide business customers with a smoother user experience.

For additional information on iStore or to sign up for training, go to the DLC website.

Montgomery County Council Approves $5.3 Million Budget for the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County

The Montgomery County Council approved more than $5.3 million for the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) to use to fund arts and humanities throughout the County.

AHCMC will allocate the funds through multiple grant categories that support the County’s nonprofit arts and humanities sector. Funding is available for Operating Support Grants; small and mid-size organizations, creative projects, arts education, and Individual Artist and Scholar Grants; Advancement Grants; AHCMC administration; Arts and Humanities Matching Fund; grants to support the Wheaton Arts and Entertainment District; and the Public Arts Trust. Cultural institutions that received grants in FY18 include the Adventure Theatre MTC, Olney Theatre Center, Imagination Stage, and Arts on the Block.

The AHCMC FY19 budget, which goes into effect on July 1, also includes over $1.8 million for Capital Improvement Grants. A portion of the Capital Improvement Grants funds will mitigate costs associated with the March 2018 fire that affected Adventure Theatre MTC and the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture.