November 30, 2018

Inaugural Ceremony for Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and the 19th County Council

The official swearing in of the new Montgomery County Executive and Council will take place on Monday, Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore, which is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda. Tickets will be provided immediately before the event at Strathmore, beginning at 9:30 a.m., on a first-come, first-served basis.

Marc Elrich will be sworn in as Montgomery County’s Executive at the ceremony. Incumbent Councilmembers Hans Riemer, who currently serves as Council president, Nancy Navarro, who currently serves as Council vice president, Tom Hucker, Sidney Katz, and Craig Rice will join at-large Councilmembers-elect Gabe Albornoz, Evan Glass and Will Jawando and District 1 Councilmember-elect Andrew Friedson at the ceremony.

No parking will be provided at the Music Center. Shuttle buses for the event will run every 15 minutes from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from the following locations: Bethesda North Marriott Conference Center Garage, Monumental Realty Executive Plaza Garage, and the Montgomery County Executive Office Building Circle. Free parking will be available at the first two locations. The event is also accessible via the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station. For walking directions from the Metro station, click here. For further information, visit the inauguration website

Watch live on County Cable Montgomery (Comcast/RCN 6, HD 996/1056, Verizon 30).

The Legacy of the Leggett Administration

The Legacy of the Leggett Administration

For 12 years, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and his team worked to build a better future for Montgomery County.

View the summary of the past 12 years of the Leggett administration. Enjoy a photo journey of Leggett’s years here.

A Farewell Note from the Creator and Senior Editor of the Paperless Airplane

Patrick Lacefield
Director, Montgomery County Office of
Public Information
When I envisioned “The Paperless Airplane” as a mass, email newsletter from the Office of Public Information about 11 years ago, I received a note back from a reader after an early edition. It said,” Wow, what a creative name, however did you think of it?” Later that month, I received a contrary view: “Who came up with this stupid title?”

Whatever, there have been hundreds of editions of The Paperless Airplane, sharing County news in an accessible, attractive format for more than a decade. Sometimes it’s been good news, sometimes bad. Sometimes it has been feel-good, sometimes edgy, sometimes pushing a strong point of view.

Right now, The Paperless Airplane reaches more than 220,000 Montgomery County households every two weeks or so – and with a very high “open” rate for email newsletters. I thank all the readers over the years for their feedback and I thank my colleagues – first Bonnie Ayres and now Judy Stiles, for their “care and feeding” of this creation.

May it continue to serve our new County Executive and County Council – and you, the readers – well on into the future.

--Patrick Lacefield
   Director, Montgomery County Office of Public Information

Stay Safe this Holiday Season and Throughout the New Year

Unfortunately, there has been a recent increase in injury and fatal pedestrian-related traffic collisions. Roads and activities will continue to get busier this time of year, so everyone is urged to follow important safety tips now and throughout the new year.

Be Seen, Be Alert and Be Responsible can help keep you safer.
Be Seen: If you are buying a new winter coat, consider purchasing a light-colored one, or at the very least, wear a white scarf and white gloves. Look for athletic clothing with reflective patches and check out what is available at running stores that increases visibility. Don’t assume that because you can see a vehicle, that the driver can see you.

Be Alert: Give full attention when walking or driving. Remember, Maryland is a Hands-Free state: no texting or even holding a cell phone while driving is allowed. Distracted driving continues to be a leading cause of collisions. And, when walking by a roadway or crossing streets, don’t wear earbuds or look at a cell phone.

Be Responsible: Don’t drink and drive. The most responsible party hosts will ensure that no guest drives after drinking and will enforce a zero tolerance for alcohol use by guests under age 21.

Read more safety tips here.

Montgomery County and Prince George’s County File Federal Lawsuit Against Banks; Maryland Minority Communities Devastated by Defaults, Home Vacancies and Foreclosures Caused by Defendants’ Practices

Montgomery and Prince George’s counties have jointly filed two federal lawsuits against Bank of America, N.A. and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., seeking damages and injunctive relief for violations of the federal Fair Housing Act those banks and their acquired entities committed, including Countrywide Financial Corporation, Merrill Lynch & Co and Wachovia Corporation. The lawsuits were filed on Nov. 20 in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.

The complaints, filed by Brown Goldstein Levy LLP in conjunction with Milberg Tadler Philips Grossman LLP and Evangelista Worley, LLC, the three law firms representing the Counties, allege that beginning in the early to mid-2000s, these mortgage lending institutions targeted African American and Latino borrowers for, or steered them into, higher cost, non-prime mortgage loans. The complaints further allege that at the time, defendants knew that many of the loans were likely to fail or were not in the borrowers’ best interests. They either originated such loans directly or assisted other brokers and affiliates – including Accredited Home Lenders, AmeriQuest Mortgage Company, First Franklin Financial Corp., New Century Mortgage Corp., Option One Mortgage Corp., and Ownit Mortgage Solutions -- to originate them.

At issue are tens of thousands of potentially predatory and discriminatory mortgage loans made to minority borrowers in the two Counties since 2000 for which the defendants are responsible. In total, Bank of America, Countrywide and Merrill Lynch are responsible for at least 97,500 potentially predatory and discriminatory mortgage loans originated in Montgomery County and Prince George’s County; and the Wells Fargo defendants are responsible for more than 56,000 loans.

“The discriminatory equity stripping housing practices engaged in by the banks and their affiliates greatly damaged our communities,” said Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett. “Bank of America’s wrongful mortgage practices continue to this day. We cannot allow this to continue to harm the finances of the County and shift the costs that the defendants are responsible for onto our taxpayers.”

Many of these loans continue to exist.

The complaints allege these loans were intended to, and did, generate higher profits and mortgage servicing income for the defendant banks through higher loan interest rates, increased mortgage servicing charges over the life of the loan, loan pre-payment penalties, expensive added fees and increased default interest rates and fees charged to late-paying or defaulting borrowers.

Wells Fargo and Bank of America’s continued servicing of such mortgage loans, failure to modify them, and default servicing and foreclosure practices, perpetuate this scheme.

Additionally, during the last few years the banks have foreclosed on minority borrower homes in a discriminatory manner as reflected in the numbers and concentration of foreclosures in minority neighborhoods compared to non-minority neighborhoods.

The lending agencies’ discriminatory housing practices have resulted in increased numbers of home vacancies and foreclosures that have harmed both Counties through increased out-of-pocket costs for County services incurred for processing foreclosures, and the costs relating to the identification, maintenance, repair, monitoring and demolition of foreclosed, abandoned and/or vacant properties. In addition, the Counties have been damaged from the erosion of the tax base, the loss of property tax and other revenue and from the resources they have had to shift to address urban blight and the racially segregative effect on their respective communities and neighborhoods.

Six Inducted Into the 2018 Hall of Fame

Six residents, who have made great personal sacrifices in contributing to human and civil rights in Montgomery County, were inducted into the 2018 Montgomery County Human Rights Hall of Fame on Thursday, Nov. 29. The County’s Office of Human Rights hosted the ceremony at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown.

The inductees are Tufail Ahmad; Mark Bergel; Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston; Reverend Kenneth Nelson; Dr. DeVance Walker Jr. and Bishop Paul Walker Sr. They are welcomed into the Hall of Fame for their visionary leadership, outstanding achievements and work in advancing human rights.

The theme for this year’s event was DIVERSITY Is Working For Our County. This is the 10th year for this biennial event.

Created with flickr slideshow.

Montgomery County Recreation Hosts 40th Annual Holiday Craft Show on Saturday, Dec. 1

Looking for unique holiday gifts or décor? Montgomery County Recreation is hosting its free 40th annual Holiday Craft Show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Bauer Drive Community Recreation Center located at 14635 Bauer Drive, near the intersection of Bauer Drive and Norbeck Road in Rockville.

The craft show will feature more than 60 local and regional artists and craftspeople selling original works of art, photography, jewelry, candles, holiday decorations, woodwork and more.

For more information, call the Bauer Drive Community Recreation Center at 240-777-6922.

Montgomery County Reminds Residents and Businesses to Continue Recycling Glass Bottles and Jars

Montgomery County has recycled glass bottles and jars for decades. All County residents of single-family homes, multifamily properties (apartments and condominiums) and all businesses, organizations and government facilities are required to recycle glass.

Recently, there have been news reports regarding other jurisdictions in the Washington metropolitan area and nationwide that are reconsidering the recycling of glass due to changes in the financial aspect of glass recycling. However, Montgomery County is continuing to recycle glass as part of its recycling program as it feels that the environmental importance is more significant than the adjustments that must be made to meet changing financial conditions of glass recycling.

To learn more about the County’s recycling program, visit the DEP website.

Call to Middle and High School Filmmakers; "B The One" Video Public Service Announcement Contest

All middle and high school filmmakers from Montgomery County have the opportunity to create a public service announcement (PSA) to raise awareness about suicide prevention. Winning PSA’s will be shown in local movie theaters.

Using information from the website, students are asked to make a 30-second video highlighting one to two key points about suicide prevention.

The complete guidelines are available here. Deadline for submission is Jan. 16, 2019.

The Glenstone Museum Integrates Art, Architecture and Landscape

Glenstone Museum
The Glenstone Museum revealed the results of a five-year expansion on Oct. 4. Glenstone Museum, located at 12100 Glen Road in Potomac, encompasses two buildings, several outdoor sculptures and more than 230 acres of landscape.

Established by Emily Wei Rales and Mitchell P. Rales, Glenstone opened in 2006 and now includes a new 204,000-square-foot museum building called the Pavilions, designed by Thomas Phifer of Thomas Phifer and Partners. It also includes an additional 130 acres of rolling meadows, woodlands, and streams, designed by Adam Greenspan and Peter Walker of PWP Landscape Architecture; an Arrival Hall and bookstore; and two cafés.

The original 30,000-square-foot museum building, called the Gallery, was designed by Charles Gwathmey of Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects and opened in a 100-acre setting. With the addition of its new facilities, Glenstone now offers a total of 59,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space in two buildings, with all works drawn from its own renowned collection of modern and contemporary art, and 230 acres of serene, unspoiled landscape incorporating installations of major works of outdoor sculpture.

To fully experience Glenstone, visitors should be prepared to spend considerable time on foot, and comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The first of the Museum buildings is a seven-minute walk from the Arrival Hall.

Admission to Glenstone is always free. Glenstone Museum is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with visits scheduled on the half hour until 3 p.m. February tickets will be released on Dec. 1 at 12:01 a.m. More information is available here.

The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation talks with the Glenstone Museum staff to learn how this gift to Montgomery County beautifully integrates art, architecture and landscape in this video.

Think Arts: Glenstone Museum from MCEDC on Vimeo.

Members of County Executive’s Leadership Team Profiled in the News

Lily Qi
Lily Qi and Bruce Adams, both members of County Executive’s leadership team, recently made the news.

Qi, assistant chief administrative officer for economic and workforce development is featured in a recent Washington Post article.

Qi will be inaugurated into the Maryland House of Delegates to represent Legislative District 15 in on Wednesday, Jan. 9. The Washington Post story highlights Qi’s successful strategies to win the election. Read the full story here.

Bruce Adams
Adams, the director of the Montgomery County Office of Community Partnerships will step down from his position on Friday, Nov. 30. Adams, appointed by County Executive Ike Leggett, has spearheaded numerous community initiatives working across the barriers of race, ethnicity, income and religion that too often diminish communities.

A recent Bethesda Beat article highlights what Adams plans. Read the article here.

Maryland Department of Transportation to Resurface U.S. 29 (Colesvlle Road) in Silver Spring

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration is beginning a project to resurface nearly one mile of U.S. 29 (Colesville Road) between MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) and St. Andrews Way (near Sligo Creek Parkway) in downtown Silver Spring. The $1.9 million project should be complete by summer 2019. The project is expected to improve ride quality for thousands of drivers.

Pedestrian traffic will be maintained during construction but may be directed to the nearest signalized intersection for safe crossings.

The contractor is permitted to close a single lane Mondays through Fridays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and Sunday nights through Friday mornings between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. There is a range of between 35,000-56,000 vehicles that use this section of US 29 on average.

Drivers are encouraged to stay alert and look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes, and highway workers. More information about the project is available here.

Montgomery Parks Seeks Public Input on Community Garden at Nolte Local Park

Montgomery Parks seeks public input on a proposal to install a community garden at Nolte Local Park. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in classroom 001 of East Silver Spring Elementary School located at 631 Silver Spring Ave.

Parks staff has proposed the creation of an all-inclusive community garden at the site of the current Nolte Local Park activity building. The activity building is scheduled to be removed in early 2019 due to underuse and the inability to secure a tenant for the facility. This community garden would offer plot sizes less than 100 square feet and offer more accessible gardening options.

Residents will have the opportunity to comment at the meeting. For residents unable to attend, a comment forum will be available online following the community meeting.

More information on Montgomery Parks’ community garden program and locations of current gardens are available here.

November 20, 2018

Holiday Schedule for Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 22.
  • County Offices – Closed. 
  • Libraries – Closed. 
  • Department of Liquor Control retail stores – Closed. 
  • Recreation – All programs and facilities - Closed.
  • Montgomery Parks – For special programs, events and operating schedule, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks, and tennis centers, visit
  • Ride On – Sunday schedule.
  • Metrorail – Information available at
  • Metrobus – Information available at
  • TRiPS Commuter Store at Silver Spring Transit Center – Closed.
  • TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store – Closed. 
  • County-provided refuse/recycling pickup – County-provided trash and recycling collection is canceled Nov. 22 and will slide one day, with the last collection Saturday, Nov. 24. 
  • The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station – Closed.
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – Free.
  • State offices and courts – Closed.

Statement by Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett on Amazon

“Although Montgomery County was not chosen as the site for Amazon’s second headquarters, we are very pleased that Arlington County will join Long Island City as one of the sites selected. The Arlington location will result in additional jobs, business, and investments – all of which will benefit the entire DC metropolitan region – and Montgomery County.

I want to thank Amazon for selecting us to be on the list of finalists. A special thanks goes to Governor Larry Hogan for his strong support of Montgomery County’s bid. I also appreciate the critical support we received from the Maryland General Assembly, the Montgomery County Council, the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, and our entire local business community.

Montgomery County continues to be one of the best places in America to live, raise a family, grow a business, and build a future. Over the past 12 years, we have strengthened our fiscal foundations, eliminated unnecessary red tape, laid the groundwork for new employment centers that will create approximately 100,000 new jobs, and invested even more in transportation options and our world-class school system.

This is a great day for Amazon, for Arlington County, for New York City, and for the entire Washington DC metropolitan region.”

Montgomery County Council Statement on Amazon’s Decision to Locate Second Headquarters in Virginia and New York

“Amazon's decision to expand its existing presence in Northern Virginia is good news for the Washington region, which will benefit from the stronger private sector growth that Amazon will foster. It is good news for everyone who cares about future job growth in Montgomery County and the region generally.

We are proud of the fact that Montgomery County was selected to be one of only 20 potential locations for HQ2. Being selected to this list reaffirmed that our County continues to be one of the best places in the country to live, work and grow a business in our increasingly global economy.

Now we must focus on transportation and workforce development so that Montgomery County residents can access those jobs, new housing to promote affordability as housing demand in the region grows, and an enhanced effort to land future spin-off opportunities right here in Montgomery County.

Our County’s educated workforce, high-quality school system, multi-modal transportation options, broadband network infrastructure, inclusive values and outstanding quality of life makes our community an ideal location for companies that are looking to expand. The Council has also made regulatory changes necessary to support large-scale businesses headquarters locating in our community.

The Council greatly appreciates the work of County Executive Isiah Leggett, Governor Larry Hogan and the entire economic development team for their continued efforts in promoting the bright future of Montgomery County.

We also congratulate JBG Smith which is headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland and owns much of the property located in Crystal City.”

Statement by Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett On Theft Charges Filed Against Former County Employee

“Today, the United States’ Attorney for Maryland and the Montgomery County State’s Attorney announced tax evasion and theft and public corruption charges against a former County employee, Peter Bang. Mr. Bang has entered a guilty plea to these charges.

“The County has cooperated fully with the Internal Revenue Service, the United States’ Attorney, and the State’s Attorney in their investigations. We also have worked closely on the matter with the County’s independent Inspector General, and the County has retained two independent auditing firms to review the County’s system of management and control as well as past transactions in which Mr. Bang had been involved.

In April 2017, the IRS alerted the County that Mr. Bang may have embezzled County funds. As a result, the County undertook its own investigation. Once it became clear that there was probable cause to believe that Mr. Bang had embezzled County funds, the matter was referred to the State’s Attorney. Because of the ongoing federal and state investigations we were required to remain silent – until now.

“Stealing money from County taxpayers is one of the worst things that any public employee can engage in. That’s exactly what this individual has done.

“Peter Bang’s employment with the County was terminated on June 12, 2017.

“Peter Bang was a career County employee. He began working for the County as a merit-protected employee on February 24, 1997 – more than 21 years ago. Beginning in July 2010 until April of 2016, Peter Bang used his position in the County Department of Economic Development, which was privatized in 2016, to divert more than $6.7 million in County monies to his private uses. He established a dummy corporation under his control, submitted fraudulent invoices payable to that entity, and then withdrew funds from that corporation.

“Bang took advantage of the fact that Economic Development funds are exempt – under County policy - from the County’s usual procurement oversight procedures, an exemption designed to give the former Department of Economic Development more flexibility in creating and attracting new jobs and investment. That put more responsibility on the Department of Economic Development itself for oversight. Mr. Bang was able to exploit his past reputation as a highly effective employee and his knowledge of established County procedures.

“Investigations to date have indicated that Mr. Bang acted alone in perpetrating these crimes. The County retained an independent forensic auditing firm on November 28, 2017 to review the transactions engaged in by the former County Department of Economic Development going back 10 years.

“As a result of this theft, I initiated a process to fully address the factors that allowed the individual to evade the normal controls and processes that exist to prevent fraud and abuse in County programs and to strengthen those controls and processes.

“This robust program includes the following actions already taken:

Strengthened segregation of duties within each department by requiring that separate persons authorize the transaction, receive the services, and process the invoice.

Ensured that all agreements ‘exempt’ from the procurement regulations will be subject to a new review process by representatives of the County Attorney and the Department of Finance.

Requiring, for exempt transactions, sufficient information supporting the basis for procurement exemption, and that sufficient additional documentation supporting payments previously subject only to departmental review now be subject to centralized scrutiny.”

Centralized and improved controls and restricted systems over the held check process to require department director level authorization to pick up checks.

Curtailed the practice of accepting vendor information directly from departments and implemented additional controls and authorizations to register vendors on an exception basis.

Increased oversight over payment processing.

Implemented automated forensic review of disbursements prior to payments being issued as a means to detect questionable payments.

Establishing a new “Compliance Unit” within the Department of Finance to review and approve department requests to enter into procurement exempt transactions, ensure that those direct purchase orders have appropriate support, expand and enhance post-payment audits to ensure payments were properly supported and authorized, and analyze tests run by forensic software designed to detect irregular payment transactions.

Trained all County managers concerning their responsibilities to ensure effective internal controls and management oversight of financial transactions, including the importance of appropriate segregation of duties, identification of potential “red flags” of employee fraud and misappropriation of funds, and what to do if such allegations or issues are identified or brought forward as allegations by other employees.

Strengthening its oversight and management of the business incubator program by contracting through procurement with a contractor with industry expertise to perform property and portfolio management of the Silver Spring Innovation Center and will have a property management contract in place by December 1, 2018 for the Rockville and Germantown Innovation Centers while directly overseeing the financial operations of the Rockville and Germantown Innovation Centers. “As to recovering the stolen monies, the County, working with the federal and state authorities, will use all means at our disposal. Loss insurance held by the County will replace some of the money. We are aggressively looking for the balance in any other accounts or properties held by Mr. Bang."

Leggett Held Farewell Reception to Say Thank You to County Employees

Hundreds of employees came out to say goodbye to County Executive Ike Leggett at a reception on Wed. Nov. 14. Leggett, who has served three terms as County Executive, will leave office on Monday, Dec. 3.

Elected in 2006, Leggett served as the highest-ranked elected official in County government, overseeing the executive branch for 12 years. Leggett described his service to Montgomery County as the highlight of his career. He stated that he plans to retire knowing the County is in good hands with staff who will continue to work hard. Leggett’s wife, Catherine led the audience in a rousing “hip hip hooray and thank you” cheer to end the celebration.

Gift Outside the Box for a Greener Holiday Season

Gift giving that reduces waste, supports local businesses and encourages volunteerism are themes for this year’s Gift Outside the Box campaign. The campaign led by the County’s Department of Environmental Protection will highlight unique and environmentally-friendly gifts and actions through advertisements and digital engagement throughout the holiday season.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the amount of U.S. household waste increases an average of 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Wrapping paper, decorations, packaging and leftover food (and sometimes even the gifts we buy), often don’t last long and end up in the waste stream.

Gift Outside the Box focuses on five themes that encourage thinking differently about how to buy gifts, as well as, how to wrap those gifts.

The themes are:
  • Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle: Reduce waste by buying gifts made from recycled or reused materials — and minimize waste by buying recycled wrapping paper or skip the traditional wrapping.
  • Gift Greener: Help the environment by thinking green in how you buy and what you buy.
  • Give Back: Instead of a traditional gift, donate to charity or spend time with friends and family by volunteering together.
  • Gift Experiences: From theater tickets to Montgomery Recreation classes and lessons, be inspired to give activities such as fun and bonding experiences. 
  • Buy Local: Support County businesses and purchase locally-made products. 
Visit the website to learn more about gift giving that benefits the local economy and the environment.

Celebrate the Holidays with Montgomery County Recreation

Montgomery County Recreation is hosting a variety of family fun events this holiday season.

From a free holiday craft show (no registration required) to a holiday puppet show to a holiday concert and so much more, you will find something festive to enjoy with your family and friends.

Register for these holiday events at and don’t forget to check out the latest issue of the Montgomery County Guide for activities, classes and programs to keep you active and engaged this winter season.

Inauguration Celebration 2018

Get out your dancing shoes! The 33rd annual Montgomery County Executive’s Ball is set for Monday, Dec. 3. The event will be held at the Bethesda North Marriott Conference Center located at 5701 Marinelli Road in North Bethesda.

The theme is “Inauguration Celebration 2018,” as this is the first Ball for the new County Executive and several new County Councilmembers.

Individual tickets are $150, and proceeds support local arts in education programs to provide cultural and learning opportunities for youth throughout Montgomery County. The 2017 Executive’s Ball raised more than $300,000 for dozens of arts and humanities organizations in the County.

For more information about this year’s event, visit the Ball’s website.

A Holiday Tradition: Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens

Make a date to visit the dazzling Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens this holiday season.

This annual walk-through light show is celebrating its 20th season and features more than one million colorful LED lights. The light show highlights the natural elements with hand-crafted forms of trees and animals that are unique to Brookside Gardens. Stroll from garden to garden enjoying twinkling tree forms, sparkling fountains, and whimsical winter scenes. Since 1997, the Garden of Lights has been a family holiday tradition.

From now thru Jan. 1, 2019, the Garden of Lights is open every night except Nov. 19 through 22, and Dec. 24 and 25. The gardens are open Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 to 10 p.m.

For more information about the hours of operation and admission, visit the Montgomery Parks website.

Winter Wonderland Warms up the Season

The Bethesda Urban Partnership starts the holiday season with Bethesda’s Winter Wonderland on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. The free celebration features holiday performances, a live ice sculpting presentation and a visit from Santa Claus in Veterans Park, located at the corner of Norfolk and Woodmont Avenues.

Blocks of ice will be transformed into wintery works of art during the live ice sculpting presentation followed by choral performances from local school groups. Santa Claus will visit the park and holiday treats and crafts will be provided to children.

For more information on Winter Wonderland visit

Representatives Visit Germany to Exchange Ideas on Welcoming and Supporting Immigrants and Refugees

Four representatives from Montgomery County visited Germany through the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange Program to learn new strategies for welcoming and supporting immigrants and refugees. The participants, who represented Montgomery County government, Montgomery County Public Schools and Impact Silver Spring, are part of a delegation with similar representative organizations from three additional U.S. cities.

When over one million refugees came to Germany in 2015, the German government had to quickly develop new strategies for accommodating and then integrating the newcomers into their society.

The delegation visited Frankfurt and Hamburg to meet with integration practitioners working for the local governments and nonprofits to exchange ideas. Some of the site visits included refugee housing, entrepreneurial development, and a home for unaccompanied minors.

After Hamburg, the group divided into two groups and each visited a city in former East Germany before concluding their trip in Berlin for an action planning conference. The closing conference included participants from German delegations who visited Montgomery County, Boston, Charlotte, and Anchorage in May 2018 to learn policies and practices from the United States.

The Montgomery County participants will share their experiences in Germany at the next Down-County Providers meeting on Dec. 19 from 2 to 4 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center located at 11002 Veirs Mill Road, Suite 506 in Wheaton.

For more information about the Welcoming Transatlantic Exchange Program, visit For more information about the upcoming Downcounty Providers Network Meeting, contact Kaori Hirakawa at

Ken K. Shafer to Speak at Montgomery County Civil War Roundtable

Michael K. Shaffer of Kennesaw State University will speak on “Second-Guessing Ewell at Gettysburg” at the Dec. meeting of the Montgomery County Civil War Roundtable at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13 at the Gaithersburg Hilton, 620 Perry Parkway. A $5 donation is requested.

November 6, 2018

Montgomery County Schedule for Veterans Day Holiday

Montgomery County government will observe the Veterans Day holiday on Monday, Nov. 12.
  • County Offices – Closed.
  • Public Libraries – Closed on Sunday, Nov. 11, and Monday, Nov. 12.
  • Department of Liquor Control (DLC) stores – Will operate on their regular schedules, which vary by store. A complete list of store hours is available at here.
  • Recreation – Recreation and aquatic centers are open. Senior centers and administrative offices are closed.
  • Montgomery Parks – For special programs, events and operating schedule, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks, and tennis centers.
  • Ride On – Modified holiday schedule.
  • Metrorail & Bus – Information available at .
  • TRiPS Commuter Store at Silver Spring Transit Center – Open.
  • TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store – Closed.
  • County-provided refuse/recycling pickup – County-provided trash and recycling collection is on a normal schedule the week of Veterans Day.
  • The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station – Open normal hours.
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – Free.
  • State offices and courts – Closed.

Leggett, Hogan and County Officials Break Ground for the New Avery Road Treatment Center

County Executive Ike Leggett joined by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan recently celebrated the new construction for the new Avery Road Treatment Center (ARTC) with a groundbreaking ceremony.

“I am extremely pleased to be here today to mark the construction of this important facility,” said Leggett. “This community is not immune to the devastation caused by the nationwide opioid epidemic and the services offered here at the Avery Road Treatment Center are a key component of our work in making treatment available to Montgomery County residents.”

Councilmember George Leventhal made remarks on behalf of the County Council. Other Councilmembers in attendance included Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, Sidney Katz and Craig Rice.

Other officials participating in the event included U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, County Department of General Services Director David Dise, County Department of Health and Human Services Director Uma Ahluwalia and Rebecca Fishman with the Potomac Healthcare Foundation.

The new 37,682 square-foot facility, located at 14703 Avery Road in Rockville, will replace the existing facility, built in 1991. When completed, the ARTC will provide 64 residential beds for non-hospital detoxification and intermediate-care residential substance use disorder treatment. It will also add new outpatient programming for a broad range of treatment options in a “one stop shop” recovery campus. Current services will be housed in a group of temporary buildings until the new building opens.

ARTC has provided thousands of residents with assistance to deal with addictions and the new Center will allow for an even higher level of service for adults with substance use disorders. Treatment services at ARTC are provided by the Maryland Treatment Centers through a contract with the County’s Department of Health and Human Services, Behavioral Health and Crisis Services.

The project is funded through a unique public-private partnership between the Maryland Department of Health, Montgomery County and the service provider, Potomac Healthcare Foundation Ltd.,(the not-for-profit foundation associated with Maryland Treatment Centers).

The 18-month project is expected to be completed in 2020. More information, about the project, is available on the DGS website.

County Leaf Vacuuming Collection Program Begins Nov. 12

County Leaf Vacuuming collection in the Leaf Collection District runs from Nov. 12 through the end of Dec. The district is bounded by I-495, I-270, the Rockville City limits, Norbeck, Bel Pre and Bonifant roads, Northwest Branch Park, and the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County lines.

The map and schedule are available here. Residents in these areas are asked to rake leaves to the road edge.

If your home is not in the Leaf Collection District, more information on how to dispose of your leaves is available here.

Montgomery County Recreation Winter Registration Begins Nov. 13

The winter issue of the Montgomery County Recreation and Montgomery Parks Guide is now available online.

Inside the Guide, are hundreds of programs and activities including basketball, indoor tennis, fitness, dance, skating, hockey and swim lessons.

Celebrate the holidays with Montgomery County Recreation. There are several upcoming events beginning with the Thanksgiving Parade on Saturday, Nov. 17, in downtown Silver Spring. For a list of the holiday happenings, see pages 10 and 11 of the Guide.

Registration for activities and programs begins Tuesday, Nov. 13.

More information, about the Guide, is available at or

Groundbreaking Held for Clarksburg Historic District Sewer Extension

County Executive Ike Leggett and County Councilmember Craig Rice recently celebrated the start of construction of the Clarksburg Historic District, Phase 1 sewer extension with a groundbreaking ceremony.

The nearly half-mile of underground sewer main project will remove residents and businesses from dependency on individual septic systems and ensure that the future Fire Station # 35 will have the necessary public infrastructure to support operations.

The approximate $2.9 million project is expected to be completed in 2019. More information, about the sewer extension, is available on the DGS website.

Rain Gardens Dedicated at Olney Elementary School

Fourth graders from Olney Elementary School recently teamed up with the County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to dedicate three new rain gardens at the school as part of the continuing partnership between DEP and the Montgomery County Public Schools to improve stormwater management.

The Department of Environmental Protection has collaborated with the school system since 2012 to identify locations on school properties to install new Environmental Site Design stormwater management facilities. The three rain gardens installed at Olney Elementary will increase the number of projects to 33 at 10 schools overall. The rain gardens at Olney Elementary and one at Sherwood Elementary School are expected to be the only ones established on school properties during the 2018-19 school year.

The stormwater facilities at schools provide educational aid for teachers to instruct about water quality issues, streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay. The fourth-grade class of Corey McClellan participated in the ceremonies.

More information, about the project, is available here.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Results

Montgomery County Police and the County’s Department of Health and Human Services thank community members who participated in the Oct. 27 U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The DEA reported that “according to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.2 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.”

It is important that unused/unwanted prescription drugs be disposed of appropriately and without harm to the environment.

In 12 locations throughout the County, police collected 27 bags of prescription drugs, which weighed a total of 609 pounds. Rockville City Police, along with the County Sheriff’s Office, collected another 13 bags, which weighed 364 pounds. The returned medications are incinerated according to federal and state environmental guidelines.

A total of 57 Maryland law enforcement agencies took part, providing 109 collection sites statewide. They collected (including the Montgomery County totals) 11,119 pounds of unwanted prescription drugs.

The following law enforcement agencies in Montgomery County have prescription drug collection boxes available to the public at their stations for use throughout the year. These locations will accept prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications only. Liquids, illicit drugs, needles, sharps and syringes cannot be accepted as part of these take-back programs:
  • Chevy Chase Village Police – 5906 Connecticut Ave.
  • Gaithersburg Police – 14 Fulks Corner Ave.
  • Maryland State Police Rockville Barrack – 7915 Montrose Road
  • Takoma Park Police – 7500 Maple Ave. 
The next DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back event will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2019.

Residents Reminded to Consult Their Medical Suppliers for Proper Ways to Dispose of Dangerous Medical Waste

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has discovered an increase in medical waste being placed in curbside recycling bins by residents. DEP reminds residents that medical suppliers are the best sources to explain proper methods of disposal of medical waste items.

Medical waste items may contaminate an entire bin of acceptable recyclable materials and, if collected, pose a significant danger to the health and safety of the employees that collect and process recycling.

Examples of medical waste items that have been found inappropriately mixed in with recyclable materials at the Recycling Center include plastic intravenous fluid (IV) bags, plastic respirator and medical equipment tubing, CPAP masks and syringes (including sharps used for injections and plastic syringes used for flushing IV lines). These items should never be placed into blue recycling bins for recycling collection.

Information on how to recycle or dispose of medical sharps and syringes is available here.

For a complete list of items that can be recycled in the County’s recycling program is available at on the DEP website or by calling 3-1-1 or 240-777-0311.

‘Rainscapes' Increased Rebates’ Available for Property Owners Who Implement Stormwater Projects

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection’s RainScapes program is now awarding increased “Rewards Rebates” for residential, commercial and institutional property owners who implement efforts to help control stormwater runoff. RainScapes is one of the signature water quality programs of the Department of Environmental Protection. It offers technical and financial assistance to encourage property owners to install environmentally-friendly landscaping solutions that enhance properties and reduce runoff to local streams.

RainScapes projects include rain gardens, conservation landscapes, green roofs, permeable pavers, rain barrels and cisterns. For all pending and future RainScapes projects, the maximum per property Rewards Rebate has increased to $7,500 per residential property, and $20,000 for properties owned by commercial entities, institutions, homeowner associations or nonprofit organizations. The new rebate maximums are three times greater than the previous residential rebate and twice as large as the previous institutional maximum.

The new rebate schedule went into effect on Oct. 1 and will include pending projects. Since the launch of the RainScapes Rewards Rebate Program 11 years ago, 987 rebates have been distributed totaling $511,481.63. Properties owners who had installed RainScapes projects and received the maximum rebate under the old threshold, may now add more projects.

More information about the Rainscapes program, including information on how to apply for rebates, is available at

Retired Marine Sergeant Kenneth Serfass will portray “President Ulysses S. Grant” at Montgomery County Civil War Roundtable

Retired Marine Sergeant Kenneth Serfass will portray “President Ulysses S. Grant” at the Nov. meeting of the Montgomery County Civil War Roundtable. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. at the Gaithersburg Hilton located at 620 Perry Parkway. A $5 donation is requested.