September 13, 2018

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service MD-TF1 Deployed to Aid in Hurricane Florence Relief

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service's Maryland Task Force One Urban Search and Rescue Team was deployed on Wednesday, Sept. 12, by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to Columbia, South Carolina, in advance of Hurricane Florence.

Montgomery County is proud to share the expertise of these highly trained men and women with an area of our country predicted to be hardest hit by the expected path of Hurricane Florence. 

Read more press release.

County's Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Monitors Hurricane Florence's Impact to County

Montgomery County's Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) staff continue to monitor the potential effects of Hurricane Florence in Maryland and in Montgomery County. As this publication goes out, the NWS predictions indicate a much less damaging scenario for the County.

However, while the track of the storm is trending south, Montgomery County as well as much of the state, may still see some localized areas of heavy rain. Chances of heavy rain may be renewed on Monday and Tuesday as the remnants of the storm could move into Maryland.

OEMHS will continue to monitor as the storm progresses. Residents are asked to be aware that there is still a possibility for trees down on roadways and power lines, power outages, and localized flooding. If you haven't registered for Alert Montgomery to receive emergency messages. You can do so online at

Reminder: FEMA Coordinating National Test of the Wireless Emergency Alert and Emergency Alert System

Notification was provided in the previous issue of the Paperless Airplane that the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission plan to conduct a test of the Wireless Emergency Alert and Emergency Alert System. It is currently scheduled to take place on Thursday, Sept. 20, between 2:15 and 2:30 p.m. The Wireless Emergency Alert system could be used to transmit messages pertinent to Hurricane Florence. If the system is being used for that or any other emergency affecting a portion of the United States, the test date will move to Oct. 3. Please follow the social media posts on Montgomery County’s twitter: @MontgomeryCoMD, to see if a change is required.

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Scheduled for the Good Hope Neighborhood Recreation Center

Residents can look forward to the opening of the Good Hope Neighborhood Recreation Center just as the fall temperatures arrive. The Center will reopen on Saturday, Oct. 6., with a ribbon-cutting event at 10 a.m. The facility is located at 14715 Good Hope Road in Silver Spring, within the 13.7-acre Good Hope Park.

The Department of General Services is finalizing the new 14,000 square-foot facility, which doubles the size of the previous neighborhood center.

A new arts facility operated in partnership with Strathmore is included in the Good Hope Neighborhood Recreation Center. In addition to the recreation center’s sports and fitness programs and social activities, the art facility will enhance the recreational offerings by adding innovative art/music and educational activities.

The outdoor areas include a playground, two softball fields, a lighted baseball field, lighted tennis courts, and basketball courts.

The opening day festivities include a speaker’s program, ribbon-cutting, refreshments and many activities for the whole family.

Farm Tour and Harvest Sale Video

Nineteen farms participated in the County’s annual Farm Tour & Harvest Sale which took place the last weekend in July. Montgomery’s County Office of Agriculture and the Farm Tour and Harvest Sale are featured in a video produced by County Cable Montgomery.

The County’s Agriculture Reserve encompasses 93,000 acres and includes hundreds of farms and thousands of horses.

KIDfest Comes to Downtown Silver Spring Sunday, Sept. 23

KIDfest is a place where kids can meet an advanced robotic seal that responds to voice and touch, use wildflowers to create paints, explore an on-site inflatable planetarium, build electronic circuits, play handcrafted musical instruments or many more innovative hands-on activities. This family festival is coming to Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring on Sunday, Sept. 23 from noon to 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

This festival, in its sixth year, is hosted by the KID Museum. More information about KIDfest is available here.

Department of General Services Does a Community Good

Dozens of leaders from our Department of General Services showed up with their loppers, rakes, hammers and hearts to revive a local group home property in need of significant landscaping and outside repair. The team transitioned the property from a yard and garden overgrown with weeds and a dilapidated deck to a manicured, landscaped home for the residents to enjoy the outdoors.

The crew spent the hot, humid day weeding, lugging, drilling and hauling but in the end it was worth the hard work to ensure the tenants could enjoy their outdoor space.

The work was done for a home owned by Jubilee Association of Maryland, which provides community-based residential services and supports for adults with developmental disabilities. About fifty individuals are served in fifteen group homes/Alternative Living Arrangements (ALUs) in our local community. Live-in counselors and Community Living Assistants staff each home; levels of staffing are based on the needs of the individual.

Bethesda Row Arts Festival Coming Oct. 13 and 14

Once again downtown Bethesda will transform into an outdoor gallery of arts and crafts when the free Bethesda Row Arts Festival returns on October 13 and 14. Over 190 selected artists will showcase their museum-quality works of all different types, including ceramics, drawings, fabrics, glass, graphics, jewelry, metalwork, paintings, pastels, photography, printmaking, sculpture, wood, and 2D and 3D mixed media.

The event is held rain or shine. Bethesda Row is located on Woodmont and Bethesda Avenues, Elm Street and Bethesda Lane, east of Arlington Road, and is within walking distance from the Bethesda Metro station. Free parking garages are also located around the site. Admission is free. More information is available from

Some proceeds from the event will go to benefit the NIH Children’s Charities.

September 6, 2018

School is Back in Session; Make Sure You Know and Obey the School Bus Law

As the new school year begins it is vital that everyone know and follow the Maryland School bus law. The danger to school bus-riding students remains a great concern. Far too many drivers have received citations. Last school year from Sept. to mid-August, 34,778 citations were issued. This means that more than 34,000 times a driver put our children at risk by disobeying the law.

The law is clear, in Maryland, drivers must stop, and remain stopped, for a school bus that is stopped with red lights flashing and stop arm activated. A driver may not proceed until the flashing red lights go off and the bus begins to move. The only time a driver doesn’t have to stop is if the vehicle is traveling in the opposite direction of the bus and there is a physical median/barrier separating the lanes of traffic.

These numerous camera citations confirm a lack of compliance to the law and it is only a matter of time before a child is seriously injured or killed. Make sure you know, understand and obey the school bus law. Let’s work together to decrease these violations this school year.

Learn more about school bus safety here. Please share the Understanding the School Bus Law information flyer with friends and family. Let’s do all we can to keep our kids safe.

Silver Spring Jazz Festival Returns to Silver Spring on Saturday, Sept. 8

The 15th annual Silver Spring Jazz Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 8 at Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring.

Dianne Reeves, a five-time Grammy winner headlines the festival. Other musical acts include the Jazz Academy of Music, The Charles Woods Quintet, Akua Allrich and the Tribe, and Marcus Johnson.

The free festival takes place from 3 to 10 p.m. in front of the Silver Spring Civic Building.

For information about the schedule, parking and visitor services, visit the downtown Silver Spring website.

Don’t Gamble With Your Life; Use the Cross Walks

During the last few weeks, several pedestrians have died after being hit while crossing main roads in our County. In response, Montgomery County has been stepping up efforts to educate pedestrians, particularly in the areas where people have been hit recently.

Please don’t gamble with your life or the lives of others. Pedestrians and drivers each have important responsibilities to keep our roadways safe.
  1. Pedestrians: When crossing the street, do not forget to be alert, be visible, use the pedestrian crosswalk, and wait for the walk signal. 
  2. Drivers: Slow down, yield to pedestrians, be very alert when making turns, and avoid distractions. 
Together we can make sure everyone in Montgomery County makes it home safely.

Visit for more information.

Zoning Text Amendment Public Hearing Scheduled for Sept. 25

At the request of Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, the County Council introduced Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA 18-11) to address deployment of 5G small cell antennas in residential areas. A public hearing will be held regarding ZTA 18-11 on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the third-floor hearing room of the County Council Building located at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville.

More information about ZTA 18-11 is available here. Anyone interested in testifying at the meeting can sign up, no later than Sept. 11.

Visit for more information. 

Friendship Picnic to Celebrate Diverse Cultures and Faiths

The sixth annual Montgomery County Friendship Picnic brings people of diverse cultures and faiths together to make new friends and discuss ways to build a stronger community. The event will be held Sunday, Sept. 23 from noon to 4 p.m. The free, family event will take place at the Wheaton Regional Park located at 2000 Shorefield Road.

All are welcomed to this inclusive gathering, which includes traditional, Kosher, Halal and vegetarian lunch options. There will be a wide range of activities for children and adults including music, dancing, a moon bounce, face painting, carousel, train rides and more.

Free parking and shuttle service is available to and from the Wheaton Ice Rink and athletic fields located at 11717 Orebaugh Ave.

More information about the event can be found here.

FEMA to Conduct Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alert System this Month

WEA messages are transmitted through an individual’s cell phone. The WEA capacity is installed by the manufacturers of cell phones. They produce a loud alert signal, which if you haven’t heard it before, could come as a surprise. The alert volume can be controlled by individual cell phone settings. The text message will be: “This is a test. No action is needed.”

This past April, through the Metropolitan Council of Governments, emergency managers throughout our region, planned and conducted a regional test of the Wireless Emergency Alert system (WEA). Now the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission, will conduct a nationwide test of both WEA and the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

The primary date selected is Thursday, Sept. 20. If a real emergency were to occur on that date, the secondary date for testing is Oct. 3. The WEA test would take place at 2:18 p.m. and the EAS test is scheduled to follow at 2:20 p.m.

The test is intended to ensure public safety officials have the methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public during an emergency or disaster. Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems is also a way to assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure required for the distribution of a national message and determine whether technological improvements are needed.
The EAS test is scheduled to last approximately one minute and is made available to EAS participants including radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers. The message begins with: “This is a test of the National Emergency Alert System.”

Learn more from FEMA’s press release.

Montgomery County High School Students Come in First in Global Robotics Competition in Mexico City

Five County school students from the Wizards.Exe robotics team represented the United States in the 2018 FIRST Global Challenge, which took place August 15-18 in Mexico City, Mexico. The team’s robot, “G-Wiz,” won the FIRST Global Challenge Silver Medal and the Gold Medal for the Zheng Hang Award for Engineering Design. The robot won all eight matches in which it participated.

In June, Councilmember Craig Rice honored the local team with a Council proclamation after they won the FIRST Tech Challenge Championship Inspire Award, recognizing excellence in robotic design, engineering and outreach to the community.

The June 2018 County Cable new story shows the dedicated journey of the team on their way to earn the national championship.

Experience and Explore the World at the World of Montgomery Festival

The World of Montgomery Festival celebrates and displays the rich cultural heritage of our area. The festival will be held at Montgomery College Rockville located at 51 Mannakee St. on Sunday, Oct. 21, from noon to 4 p.m.

The free festival includes an international village, traditional arts and crafts demonstrations, ethnic food, a Parade of Cultures, two performance stages of traditional dance and music and plenty of fun interactive activities for the whole family.

Major event sponsors include Montgomery County, Fund for Montgomery, KID Museum, Montgomery College, and City of Rockville.

For more information visit the website.

Montgomery County Procurement Forum Set for October 5

Registration is now underway for the third annual Montgomery County Procurement Forum, which is set for Friday, Oct. 5. The event takes place at the Silver Spring Civic Building located at 1 Veterans Place.

This free event is for businesses to learn about procurement opportunities around the County. At the forum, meet procurement experts from the public and private sectors, and network with your peers and develop new connections at the Exhibitor Showcase. The Procurement Forum also features educational sessions on a variety of topics including certification, marketing and writing effective business proposals.

For more information about the forum, visit the Office of Procurement website.

“I Take It Personally.” to Prevent Over-Service and Drunk Driving

To prevent drunk driving and discourage alcohol over service, the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control is relaunching a public awareness campaign titled, “I Take It Personally.” The campaign is designed to encourage personal accountability for alcohol servers and patrons consuming alcohol.

Last year, the nationally recognized ads ran on 40 busses and bus shelters over the late summer months. This year, the campaign will focus on bars and restaurants with signage, ID checking tools, waist aprons, drink coasters, and bar tools with safety messaging. The campaign includes a social media push using the hashtag #ITakeItPersonally.

Look out for these materials in your community this fall and please show your support by following @MoCoDLC and liking and reposting these safety messages on Facebook and Twitter.

Sign up Now to Participate in the Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade

Montgomery County is accepting applications from those who want to participate in the televised Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade, which takes place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17 in downtown Silver Spring.

The County is looking for talented community groups and organizations to march in the parade.

Applications to participate in the parade are due by Monday, Sept. 17.  For more information, visit the downtown Silver Spring website.

Sept. is National Preparedness Month; Disasters Happen. Residents Urged to Prepare Now, Learn How

Sept. is National Preparedness Month and everyone is encouraged to set aside time to make plans and prepare for emergencies.

The County’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) takes a leading role in County government preparedness and preparedness education for our residents. A wide variety of emergencies can and do happen; sometimes with little or no warning.

Make a plan for family and pets in advance of an eventual emergency. Throughout this month, tips will be provided for how to plan/prepare in advance of potential hazards through social media posts on the County and OEMHS websites.

OEMHS is conducting and supporting many events during the month to help communities better prepare for potential disasters. A listing of those events is available on the OEMHS website. Check back frequently as events may be added throughout the month.

Learn more here about emergency preparedness. And, if you aren’t already signed up to receive Alert Montgomery emergency warnings, subscribe at

Community Livability Survey Explorer

Just last year, Montgomery County Government commissioned the National Research Center to conduct its standardized “National Citizen Survey” in the County with eight themes: Built Environment, Community Engagement, Economy, Education and Enrichment. Mobility, Natural Environment, Recreation and Wellness, and Safety. To quickly explore the survey’s data, check out the interactive Montgomery County Community Livability Survey Explorer.

Free and Low-cost Fitness Options for Older Adults

There are many reasons why regular exercise and physical activity are important to everyone, including older adults. Regular physical activity and exercise can produce long-term health benefits and that is one reason health experts recommend that older adults are active every day to maintain their health. Even moderate exercise can improve the health of people who are frail or have diseases that accompany aging.

This updated factsheet describes free and low-cost fitness classes, weight rooms and other options available for older adults in Montgomery County. 

Visit the senior website for more information.

Plan Now for Community Service Week

Montgomery County’s annual Community Service Week is coming the week of Oct. 22 through 28. You can choose from a wide range of service activities to make a difference in the community.

The Montgomery County Volunteer Center is organizing activities for the event and encourages groups to plan projects that can be included. For instance, PTAs could set up a day to paint a mural in the school cafeteria, neighborhood associations might organize a landscape cleanup, and businesses could coordinate a food drive to fight hunger in our community.

Complete the Community Service Week Project Form to add your group’s project and/or to get assistance with planning your project or applying for funding for supplies.

Individuals can visit the Volunteer Center’s online calendar of opportunities to find activities that appeal to them and sign up to participate. Check back frequently throughout the next few weeks as more projects are added.

If you have questions or need help brainstorming project ideas, call the Montgomery County Volunteer Center at 240-777-2600 or email

Maryland Public Service Commission to Hold Public Hearings for Washington Gas Rates and New Five-Year Gas System Infrastructure Improvement Plan

The Maryland Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing in Montgomery County on the requests by Washington Gas Light Company to increase its rates by $56.3 million and implement a new five-year gas system infrastructure improvement plan (STRIDE), funded by ratepayers, at a cost of $394 million over five years. Washington Gas delivers natural gas to 484,000 customers in six Maryland jurisdictions including Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

The Montgomery County meeting will be held Monday, September 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the third floor Hearing Room of the Montgomery County Council Office Building located at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville.

The rate request would result in a 10.7 percent increase on the average residential heating customer bill. The requested STRIDE surcharge is estimated to be about 37 cents per month for residential heating customers.

More information on the meeting or how to provide written comments is available here.

“You Can’t Understand A Battlefield Until You Walk It” with Ed Bearrs is Topic for Montgomery County Civil War Roundtable

Ed Bearrs, Chief Historian Emeritus for the National Park Service and premier Civil War historian will speak on “You Can’t Understand A Battlefield Until You Walk it” at the September Montgomery County Civil War Roundtable. The event will be held on Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. at the Gaithersburg Hilton located at 625 Perry Parkway. A $5 donation is requested.

Montgomery County Business Hall of Fame Scheduled for Oct. 30

The seventh annual Montgomery County Business Hall of Fame will take place Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 11:30 a.m. at the Universities at Shady Grove located on Gudelsky Drive in Rockville.

The event recognizes outstanding Montgomery County business leaders have a positive impact on the local corporate environment and support ambitious students on their journey to excellence in higher education.

More information about the Maryland Business Hall of Fame and the event is available here.