June 12, 2019

Elrich Announces Local Business Preference Program as 4Business Listening Tour Wraps Up

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich is forwarding legislation to the County Council for a local business preference program.

Elrich made the announcement sitting alongside County Council Vice President Sidney Katz as they wrapped up their 4Business listening tour at the Upcounty Regional Services Center, located at 12900 Middlebrook Road, in Germantown on Monday, June 10.

As drafted, the legislation proposes 10 percent preference points for businesses located in Montgomery County that are competing for County contracts.

The 4Business listening tour crisscrossed the County as the elected officials encouraged business owners to share their experiences about opening and growing a business in Montgomery County. Their initiative, 4Business: Benchmarking to Be the Best for Business, included stops in Rockville, Bethesda, East County, Wheaton, Silver Spring and Germantown.

Although the listening sessions have wrapped up, Elrich and Katz are still listening. Business owners may submit input by sending an email to 4Business@montgomerycountymd.gov or by submitting a form posted on the 4Business website by July 31. Submissions can be anonymous via the website.

On July 22, a survey will be posted on the 4Business website and circulated to get more focused information from the Montgomery County business community. In addition, County officials will begin a benchmarking study that looks at regulations of neighboring jurisdictions and those of the County. Assembled comments and benchmarking results will help identify areas Montgomery County will address to reduce obstacles to success, build positive relations and help Montgomery County to be the best for business. 

In the fall, two charrettes are planned with roundtables for community discussions and input on proposed changes resulting from the 4Business feedback.

For more information about the 4Business initiative or to view transcripts from the 4Business listening tour, visit the 4Business website.

For business resources and upcoming events, visit the Montgomery County Business Portal.

A County Full of PRIDE

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Councilmember (At-Large) Evan Glass honored Pride Month with members of the County Council and leaders of the LGBTQ+ community with a flag-raising ceremony at the Executive Office Building’s Veterans Memorial Plaza. This is the first Pride flag raising in the County’s 243-year history. Glass is the first openly LGBTQ+ member of the County Council.

June 10, 2019

State Board Alters Construction Plans for I-270 and I-495 After County and Local Leaders Raise Concerns

On Wednesday, June 5, the Maryland Board of Public Works voted 2-1 to move forward with the proposed addition of toll lanes on I-270 and to designate the project as a public-private partnership. The board’s vote to move I-270 to Phase 1 of the project is a significant change that will provide County and regional leaders more time to work with the state to address the impact the project will have on local communities.

The vote came two days after Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich; County Council President Nancy Navarro and Transportation Chair of the Montgomery County Council Tom Hucker hosted a press conference with local and state elected leaders from Montgomery and neighboring counties. The group was there to raise concerns about the State’s $11 billion plan to improve traffic congestion on I-270 and I-495

“Today’s vote at the Board of Public Works was definitely a step in the right direction,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Extending the I-270 portion of the project up to Frederick is critically important to improving the commute on I-270 - this is something all of us agreed with and can be done without a major widening and taking of property.

While this is an important first step, the missing piece is the American Legion bridge, which we all agree should be part of this project and must be part of the solution. As I first said in December, the project should start at the bridge and work its way north up 270. That is doable.

I want to note also that it is possible to address traffic east of 270. Our plan would make it easier for cars coming from Prince Georges County on I-95 to use the Intercounty Connector to get to 270 without having to use the beltway. This solution has two advantages: 1) people get to I-270 faster and 2) it takes traffic off the beltway – according to the state, 20 percent of the traffic on the beltway are vehicles on I-95 using the beltway to get to Virginia. Those vehicles would be able to avoid the beltway and have a far quicker trip.

I want to thank state Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot for their questions and for listening. I also want to thank Montgomery County Council Transportation Chair Tom Hucker and the entire Council, other elected officials from Montgomery County and leaders from Fredrick and Prince George’s Counties. And finally, I want to thank the Governor for his willingness to modify his approach – although there’s still work to be done, I think we’re on the right road to solving our traffic problems; and I look forward to working with him.” 

Elrich and Jawando Hear from Residents at Community Forum on Policing

County Executive Marc Elrich and Councilmember Will Jawando recently hosted a community policing forum to hear from residents about their priorities in the search for a new police chief. Dozens of residents shared their vision for the selection of the new chief during the meeting that took place at John F. Kennedy High School in Silver Spring.

The nationwide search for a new police chief began when Chief J. Thomas Manger announced his retirement earlier this year.

The selection panel is expected to wrap up interviews and select finalists, which will then be reviewed by County Executive Marc Elrich and Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Klein. Elrich is expected to recommend appointment of final candidate to County Council in Aug.

Montgomery County Minimum Wage Increases on July 1

The minimum wage will rise in Montgomery County on July 1. The number of workers employed by the business will determine the amount of the increase.

The County’s minimum wage will increase to $13 for employers with 51 or more employees and $12.50 for employers with 50 or fewer employees. Employees age 18 and under, who work fewer than 20 hours per week, are exempt from this rate.

Signed into legislation on Nov. 17, 2017, Bill 28-17 raises the minimum wage incrementally, each July 1, until it reaches $15 per hour in 2022.

Effective date
Large employer
Mid-sized employer
Small employer
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.

More information about the County’s minimum wage increase is available on the Office of Human Rights website.

Montgomery County Recreation’s Outdoor Pools Open for the Summer Season

Montgomery County Recreation’s outdoor pools are the perfect place to cool off this summer.

The seven outdoor pools include Bethesda, Germantown, Martin Luther King Jr., Sara E. Auer Western County, Sgt. Hector I. Ayala Wheaton/Glenmont, Long Branch and Upper County. 

During the summer season (June 15 - August 16), outdoor pool hours are noon to 8 p.m. on weekends, and 1 to 8 p.m. during weekdays except for the Sarah E. Auer Western Outdoor Pool, which opens at noon. The Long Branch and Upper County Pools are closed on Fridays during the summer season. 

For more information about pool passes, locations and operating hours, visit the Montgomery County Recreation website.

Prepare Now for the Summer Storm Season

The Atlantic Hurricane and Summer Storm Season officially began on June 1 and runs through Nov. While it is possible for a hurricane or tropical storm to impact Montgomery County, the greater summer weather threat is flooding, hail, lightning strikes, thunderstorms and strong winds. Thunderstorms can occur singly or in clusters or lines and typically produce heavy rain for a brief period. During severe thunderstorms there is a risk that a tornado could occur.

In the event of a life-threatening storm, it is critical to know what to do before, during and after a severe storm. Knowing the difference between a weather watch and warning is an important part of keeping you and your loved ones safe.

NWS Advisories/Watch/Warnings:
  • Advisory: Highlights weather conditions less serious than a warning
    Weather event may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property
  • Watch: Be Prepared
    Conditions are right for the event to happen
    May last several hours
    Time to make a plan for if the event happens
  • Warning: The event is happening
    Take immediate action
    Usually limited to a short period of time (around 30 minutes)
Alert Montgomery is the County’s emergency notification system. Subscribers can register to receive real-time information on their mobile devices or landlines. In addition to weather emergencies, subscribers can opt to receive alerts about school closures, government closures, gas leaks, severe weather, traffic, park closures, public health and other public emergencies. Regardless of the alerts you choose to receive, ALL account holders will receive tornado warnings and other critical emergency notifications. The free service is available to anyone who signs up on the Alert Montgomery website.

Visit the OEMHS website for more information on severe summer storms.

Dockless e-Scooters Join County’s Expanding Programs for Dockless Bikes and e-Bikes

With dockless bikes and e-bikes having been tested and enjoyed in several areas of the County, the County’s Department of Transportation is expanding the program to an add a pilot program for dockless e-scooters.

Three companies have been selected to deploy dockless e-scooters and e-bikes at no cost to the County. The demonstration project will include monthly free e-scooter training sessions.

Lyft will provide e-scooters in the East County Service Area; Bird will provide e-scooters in the West County Service Area; and Lime will provide both e-bikes and e-scooters in both service areas.  Each company’s vehicles will be limited to operation within their specific geo-fenced service area. All vendors require that riders be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license.

More information about the programs is available here.

Montgomery County’s 23rd Annual Juneteenth Celebration: Sing of Harmony the Harmony of Liberty

Montgomery County’s 23rd Annual Juneteenth celebration will be held at the BlackRock Center for the Arts located at 12901 Town Commons Drive in Germantown. The festivities begin at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 15.

The event will feature the traditional activities including the award recognition ceremony and Juneteenth barbecue dinner. New this year, there will be an uplifting line-up of musical and theatrical entertainment and a screening of the movie Mudbound. This free, family-friendly event is a day of celebration and remembrance with activities scheduled both on the lawn and inside of the arts center.

The program commemorates the 154th anniversary of the events of June 19, 1865. On that day, Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its enslaved persons. Today, this is known as Juneteenth and is celebrated widely across the United States.

This year’s theme “Sing of the Harmony of Liberty” recollects the African American struggles, with a voice of praise and hope of freedom for all.

For more information, or to register for the event go to the Office of Human Rights website, or call James Stowe at the Office of Human Rights at 240-777-8490.

Read the press release here.

Flash on MD 355 Open Houses

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation invites you to hear more about what is new with the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) service along MD 355 called FLASH. Two open houses are scheduled to help you learn more about the extensive evaluation and preliminary engineering of the alternatives, including ridership, benefits, impacts, and estimated costs.

Schedule for the Open Houses:
The open houses are self-paced to allow attendees to access the information at their convenience. The same information will be available at both sessions. Sign language interpreters and other assistive services will be provided upon request.

More information is available on the open house webpage, or by contacting Darcy Buckley at 240-777-7166 or email at darcy.buckley@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Montgomery County Public Libraries Closes Wheaton Interim Branch to Prepare for Opening of the Wheaton Library and Community Recreation Center

Montgomery County Public Libraries will close the Wheaton Interim branch, located at 2400 Arcola Ave., at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 22, to prepare for the opening of the new Wheaton Library and Community Recreation Center.

Information regarding the last date for book returns in the branch and the last date for placement of holds for pick up at the Wheaton Interim location is updated on the website.

MCPL branches near Wheaton include Aspen Hill, Kensington Park, Silver Spring, Twinbrook, and White Oak.

The new Wheaton Library and Community Recreation Center is expected to open in early Sept. More information about the new facility is available on the website.

Business Connect: Let’s Make it Happen

County Executive Marc Elrich has identified “A Growing Economy” as a priority area for his administration. Business Connect, a program of the County’s Business Solutions Group, is designed to deliver services to businesses where they are located. The program is piloting at the Upcounty Regional Services Center in Germantown.

Business Connect will provide businesses with access to classes, counseling and connections. Classes focus on topics to help businesses grow. One-on-one counseling helps businesses strengthen strategic plans, identify sources of capital, develop marketing strategies and achieve other targeted objectives.

Mark your calendars for an upcoming Business Connect workshops, which will be held from 10 a.m. to noon:
Visit the Montgomery County Business Portal for information about doing business in and with County government and check out the calendar for training classes and workshops designed to help you grow your business.

Thrive Montgomery 2050 Invites You to Share Ideas about the Future of Montgomery County Over the Next 30 Years

The Montgomery County Planning Department is launching a new initiative titled, Thrive Montgomery 2050 to update Montgomery County’s General Plan for the future. The General Plan is Montgomery County’s long-range policy framework for guiding land use and growth. Montgomery County’s existing General Plan was last comprehensively updated in 1964.

 Through Thrive Montgomery 2050, Montgomery Planning is asking for the community’s help to ensure that, over the next 30 years, the county can be a vibrant, welcoming and economically healthy place where all can thrive.

This effort will be launched through Thrive Week, a series of five community events between June 26 and June 30, each held in a different location within the County. Three of the events will take place at Montgomery Parks facilities where community members will be able to share their ideas about the future of Montgomery County. These ideas will be recorded in words and pictures by a graphic artist. Feedback from Thrive Montgomery 2050 community events will help inform the update to the General Plan.

Thrive Week is the first step in the process that will identify and examine the changes occurring in Montgomery County, consider what we want for tomorrow, then develop a shared vision to maintain what is great about the county while taking the actions needed to thrive over the next 30+ years.

The Thrive Week schedule follows:
  • Wednesday, June 26; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Shady Grove Farmer’s Market, Key West Avenue and Broschart Road, Rockville
    (Rain or shine, in the rear parking lot on the Rockville campus of Johns Hopkins University.)
  • Thursday, June 27; 6 to 8 p.m.Yappy Hour, hosted by Montgomery Parks in Elm Street Park, 4600 Elm Street, Bethesda. Community members are encouraged to bring their dogs.
  • Friday, June 28; 3 to 6 p.m.South Germantown Recreational Park, 18041 Central Park Circle, Boyds at the splash park and mini-golf facility
  • Saturday, June 29; 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.Ellsworth Fountain Plaza Stage, 916 Ellsworth Dr., Silver Spring
  • Sunday, June 30; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Sunday Funday at Wheaton Veterans Urban Park, 11200 Amherst Ave.
The result of Thrive Montgomery 2050 will be a living and breathing General Plan that guides future planning and decision making and helps secure resources to ensure Montgomery County is a place where everyone can be successful, have opportunities and enjoy a high quality of life in a beautiful and resilient environment.

Learn more about Thrive Montgomery 2050.

May 23, 2019

Holiday Schedule for Memorial Day

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Memorial Day, Monday, May 27:
  • County Offices - closed;
  • Libraries - closed;
  • Department of Liquor Control - all stores open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.;
  • Recreation - Aquatics programs and facilities open. Recreation centers, senior centers and administrative offices are closed;
  • Montgomery Parks - visit www.MontgomeryParks.org;
  • Ride On - will run on a Sunday schedule. Click on a route number for the Sunday schedule;
  • Metrorail and Metrobus - Information available at www.wmata.com;
  • TRiPS Commuter Store (Silver Spring) - closed; Mobile Store - closed;
  • County-provided refuse/recycling pickup - No County-provided collection services will occur on this day. After the holiday, all County-provided recycling and trash collections will slide and be one day later than normal with the last pickup on Saturday, June 1;
  • Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station - Monday, May 27: Entire facility closed; Tuesday, May 28: Shady Grove entrance Scale House, main tipping floor, and the Annex at the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station will be open extended hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to handle the expected higher volume of waste following the Memorial Day weekend. Route 355 entrance Public Unloading Facility, Upper Lot, and the Recycling Center will operate normal hours and open at 7 a.m.;
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters - free; and
  • State offices and courts - closed.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich’s Statement on Adoption of FY 2020 Operating and Capital Budgets

The past six months have been an important period for Montgomery County and its future path. My promise to the residents and business owners of this County was that we would work toward a better way to operate the County Government; and we would do it in a sustainable and progressive way.

That is what my recommended Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Operating Budget and my amendments to the FY2019-24 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) Budget reflected when I presented them to the County Council earlier this year. Today, I applaud and appreciate the Council’s unanimous support for the County’s $5.8 billion operating budget that endorses 99.7 percent of my initial proposal. It is symbolic of the new and collaborative relationship – that I and Council President Nancy Navarro as well as the entire Council have worked to develop.

When I introduced the budget, I left $10 million unallocated for the Council to apportion as a sign of my new approach. It was a tough decision to leave many worthy requests unfulfilled, but I was heartened to hear many Councilmembers partially credit this action for creating a more cooperative decision-making process. As a councilmember, I was frequently troubled by one-time raids on various County accounts to fund ongoing commitments. I was also bothered that the only way to change something was to cut something else that the Executive had appropriated. I am glad that this new approach has been helpful.

Throughout my campaign for County Executive, I pledged the County would not raise tax rates this year. The Council supported my plan to keep that promise. In addition, the budget includes a property tax credit of $692 for homeowners whose properties are their primary residences.

This budget addresses our most pressing needs in a fiscally responsible manner despite lower-than-predicted revenues. The budget starts to correct chronic understaffing in a number of departments that has driven excessive overtime and that contributes to the need for perpetual mid-year savings plans. For example, I added funding to cover the actual salary cost for overtime in the Department of Fire & Rescue Services and for the actual cost of contracts in the Department of Health & Human Services.

Keeping a central promise from the campaign, this budget includes new funding for a down payment on my plan to expand early childhood education, which should be a gamechanger for our entire educational system. The budget also fully funds the requests of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) as well as Montgomery College. We have the flexibility to meet these goals, in part, due to the great work by our state delegation – my initial budget increased funding for MCPS by 2 percent and thanks to state aid, MCPS will have a 3 percent increase. I was happy to be able to go to Annapolis regularly throughout the legislative session to support their efforts.

During the next year, we will expand our public safety priorities and protect safety net services that are critical to our most vulnerable neighbors. We will also battle congestion as the FLASH transit line along Route 29 continues toward completion and we get set to launch on-demand Ride On service as a pilot program near three Metrorail stations.

The FY19-24 capital budget will fund school construction, infrastructure improvements, and community projects.

The approved budget achieves my commitment to meet the FY20 target for the County’s reserve at 10 percent of adjusted governmental revenues. This is one of the critical elements considered by rating agencies and important for the County’s AAA bond rating. Our best-in-the-country bond rating enables the County government to sell long-term bonds at the most favorable rates, saving taxpayers millions of dollars over the life of the bond. Meeting our County’s 10 percent reserve target in FY20 will mean lower contributions in future budgets.  

By reducing borrowing costs each year, our County will reduce its debt service burden – something that has been overwhelming the budget process year-after-year, and something I have promised to fix.

This budget also provides affordable salary increases for our dedicated County employees. I was disappointed when the council initially rejected one of our hard-bargained employee contracts. I wanted to honor the commitment that the prior administration made to some of our longest serving employees by fully restoring a service increment increase that had been cut in 2011. As only one in ten County employees still qualify for this increase, I believed then and I still believe that it was completely affordable. I am pleased that this budget restores a deferred increment for another County union – the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), completing restoration of two deferred increments each for the FOP and the International Association of Fire Fighters. I am also pleased that teachers and other school staff also had increments restored in prior budgets, including one increment in January. Those restorations left only the workers in the Municipal and County Government Employees Organization (MCGEO) with no restored increments, which was not equitable. Fortunately, I was able to craft a compromise with our labor partners and the Council to restore one deferred increment to MCGEO over three years. I am proud to lead and serve with these employees, who work tirelessly to ensure the highest level of service and quality of life for our residents.

I have promised our residents honesty when it comes to our budgets. Too many people are growing weary and cynical about government at all levels because of budget gimmicks, tax giveaways, and hyperbolic political rhetoric. Approval of this budget is part of my effort to be straightforward in the budget process.

This budget also represents a part of my work for a County government that seeks and values the participation of our residents, our employees, our nonprofit partners, our business community, and my fellow elected officials in a deliberate and transparent manner based on facts and accurate figures. We may not always be in complete agreement, but we will work together to build a better Montgomery County for all.

County Executive Marc Elrich and Councilmember Will Jawando to Host Community Forum on Policing

County Executive Marc Elrich and Councilmember Will Jawando will host a community forum on policing in Montgomery County. The objective is to engage County residents to share their experiences and concerns about current policies and actions and to identify future priorities they want to see for a new police chief.

The forum will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 6 at John F. Kennedy High School Auditorium located at 1902 Randolph Road in Silver Spring.

Attendees will be invited to participate in a live, interactive survey. County residents who cannot attend are encouraged to provide feedback via an online survey that will close at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 10.

County Executive Outlines Continuing Efforts to Address Housing Affordability

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich outlined several plans to improve housing for County residents. Those include: helping tenants transition to homeownership; preserving affordable housing; protecting tenant access to housing after their building is renovated; helping people with low and middle incomes; and, helping address financially-strained condominium communities.

These efforts come in addition to the County’s ongoing work to improve housing code enforcement at multifamily apartment buildings. That two-year inspection surge is wrapping up, to be followed by regular inspections at all properties, including more frequent (annual) inspections at “troubled properties.”

Elrich made his remarks at the Affordable Housing Conference of Montgomery County, an annual gathering that addresses housing policies and programs held on Friday, May 17 in North Bethesda.

Elrich also gave the Housing Partnership Award to Ken Holt, Maryland Secretary of Housing and Community Development. And, he congratulated the family who won the “Break the Barrier to Homeownership” Award.

Also at the Conference, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen commended Montgomery County for leveraging federal affordable housing dollars to achieve good progress on its housing agenda - including declaring an end to veterans’ homelessness. And, he said we must keep working together to expand affordable housing and help overcome the legacy of discrimination.

24th Annual ‘Taste of Wheaton’ Festival on Sunday, June 2, to Feature Food from a Wide Array of Local Restaurants, Family Activities, Beer and Wine Garden and a Full Day of Entertainment

The 24th Annual Taste of Wheaton will make available samples from the diverse restaurants in Downtown Wheaton and provide a full day of family and children’s activities, exhibitors, a beer and wine garden and entertainment including four bands. Samples of food from Wheaton’s variety of restaurants will range in price from $1 to $5 per “taste."

The free event will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 2, at County Parking Lot 17 located at 2320 Price Ave. (the corner of Price Ave. and Fern St.). The location is one block east of the Wheaton Metro station.

Detailed information about the event is available on the Taste of Wheaton website.

Silver Spring Summer Concerts Return to Veterans Plaza

Downtown Silver Spring will be hopping again this summer when the Silver Spring’s Thursday Night Concerts returns. The full line-up of the concert series features touring artists and local favorites. From Motown to rock to Oldies, the popular summer concert series has music for everyone.

The free, outdoor concerts will take place at Veterans Plaza located at One Veterans Place. The concerts begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday evening, beginning June 20 through Aug. 8. There will not be a concert on Thursday, July 4.
  • June 20 – The Back Pages Band (60s/70s Tribute)
  • June 27 – Josh Christina (Rockabilly)
  • July 11 – Route 66 Band (Classic Rock, Country)
  • July 18- Marc Berger Band (American Roots)
  • July 25- MoCo’s Got Talent (Variety)
  • August 1 - The HitTime Revue Featuring Jimi Smooth (R&B, Soul)
  • August 8 –The Soul Crackers (Motown Soul)
The concert features face painting, games for kids, and a raffle with prizes for adults as well as toys and gifts for kids. The raffle opens at 6:30 p.m. and is awarded at intermission.

Performances are canceled due to weather only if it is raining at 7 p.m. The programs are sponsored by Live Nation, Discovery Communications, Montgomery County, the Silver Spring Urban District and Montgomery County Recreation. For more information, visit the Silver Spring concert series website, or call 240-777-0311.

Autism/IDD Night Out Event to Provide Activities and Information

Montgomery County’s Department of Police will host a free Autism/IDD Night Out event from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 30. The event will include information for caregivers, parents, loved ones and community members who want to learn more about autism.

The event will be held at Montgomery County’s Public Safety Training Academy located at 8751 Snouffer School Road in Gaithersburg. In addition to the safety resources, there will be information about community-based support program. The Go Team Therapy dogs and the K-9 Unit, officers from each district station and Montgomery County Fire and Rescue personnel will be on hand.

Visit montgomerycountymd.gov/lifesaver for more information.

Happy, Healthy Homes Green Initiative’ Seeks to Help Low-Income Families Save on Energy Costs

A partnership program between the County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Montgomery Housing Partnership (MHP) has created the new “Happy, Health Homes Green Initiative” to help low-income families save money on energy costs.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, County Council Vice President Sidney Katz, County Director of DEP Adam Ortiz and MHP President Robert Goldman helped launch the program to address a national issue that finds low-income households spending a larger portion of their income on home energy costs than other households.

Part of the initiative will work toward making more than 1,800 low-income families in MHP housing aware of energy assistance programs that are available to County residents. In addition, there are numerous useful “green” programs for which low-income residents may be eligible. The housing organization has properties located in Gaithersburg, Rockville, Silver Spring, Takoma Park and Wheaton.

More information is available at County's website or by calling DEP Residential Energy Program Manager Larissa Johnson at 240-777-7711.

Business Connect: Let’s Make It Happen

Registration is now underway for the Business Connect workshops and one-on-one counseling at the Upcounty Regional Services Center located at 12900 Middlebrook Road in Germantown.

Business Connect is a program of the Montgomery County Business Solutions Group, which includes the small business navigator and business liaison officers. The Business Connect program is all about providing classes, counseling and connections for business owners and entrepreneurs.

To peruse upcoming classes, visit the Montgomery County Business Portal and click on Training Workshops (at the top right of the website).  The following classes are scheduled at the Upcounty Regional Services Center:
To book an appointment with the County’s Business Solutions Group, email bizportal@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Summer Season Starts in Downtown Silver Spring with a Fox 5 Zip Trip and Children’s National Health System

The summer season gets started when Fox 5 debuts their first 2019 Zip Trip in downtown Silver Spring. Everyone is invited to get in on the fun, which begins on Veterans Plaza located at One Veterans Place on Friday, May 24 beginning at 7:30 a.m.

To help serve an important need, Children’s National Health System will also participate by holding blood drive. Volunteers are asked to stop in to donate blood, which will help treat the more than 1,400 kids with sickle cell disease and many more chronic illnesses. Did you know that one unit of blood can help 4 to 5 children?

The blood drive will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. People can pre-register or they can walk-in to donate blood at the event. Online registration is available here or by calling 202-476-5437.

Remember, ALL donors should:
  • Eat breakfast prior to blood donation.
  • Drink at least 16 ounces of water prior to coming to donate.
  • Read eligibility requirements prior to scheduling an appointment.
  • Be free of flu and cold-like symptoms for at the least three days prior to donation.
Prospective donors must present photo identification (driver’s license, passport, employee/college ID with a picture) at time of donation.

Department of Liquor Control Hosts Whiskey Rocks on Friday, June 14

The Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control (DLC) is hosting its biannual Whiskey Rocks celebration from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, June 14 at the Burtonsville Liquor & Wine store located at 15620 Old Columbia Pike. 

The event features several highly sought after but hard to find items for purchase. These allocated items will be offered for purchase to anyone age 21 or older, on a first-come, first-serve basis, at random drawings and during specific release times during the event.

The Whiskey Rocks celebration will also include special releases of an expanded barrel program, three complimentary seminars and a Dogfish Head Whiskey dinner the night before.

Visit the DLC website for details.

May 8, 2019

4Business Listening Session Set for May 13

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council Vice President Sidney Katz want to hear from local business owners.

They are holding their next 4Business listening session at 7 p.m. Monday, May 13, at the Charles W. Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center located at 11002 Veirs Mill Road in Wheaton.

Listening sessions have been scheduled across the County to receive input from business owners about their experiences opening and growing a business in Montgomery County. Your input is key.

Upcoming additional sessions include:
If you cannot attend an upcoming session, you can email your feedback to 4Business@montgomerycountymd.gov.

More information is available at the 4Business website.

Ride On Schedule Changes Beginning Sunday, May 12

Ride On regularly assesses the need for service improvements and makes those changes seasonally. Beginning Sunday, May 12, 2019 several changes have been made for bus routes 1, 4, 9, 10 (Sunday only) 16, 20, 24 and 34 (Saturday only).

In addition, several routes will have time changes so that the schedule reflects the actual travel time along the respective routes. Those updated schedules are for bus routes 43, 48, 57, 58, 60, 63, 66, 67, 70, 71, 74, 78 and 79. There is no longer a bus route 63X; this service has been added to bus route 63.

Find more information, visit the the Ride On website.

Register for Montgomery County Recreation’s Summer Classes Beginning May 13

Learn to dance or swim or take an art class this summer with Montgomery County Recreation.

The summer issue of the Guide is where you will find hundreds of classes and programs to promote an active and healthy lifestyle. Activities and programs are tailored to a variety of interests, skill levels and ages. Programs include aquatics, arts, dance, fitness, sports, wellness and more.

Summer registration opens on Monday, May 13, via ActiveMONTGOMERY.org, the registration and facility reservation system shared by Montgomery County Recreation, Montgomery Parks and Community Use of Public Facilities.

Montgomery County Recreation’s new digital Guide format provides easier navigation and direct links for registration. 

Print copies also are available at Montgomery County Recreation facilities including recreation centers, aquatic centers, senior centers and Montgomery County Recreation administrative office located at 4010 Randolph Road in Silver Spring.

Business Connect Launches at Upcounty Regional Services Center

Montgomery County business owners and entrepreneurs in the Upcounty are getting additional support through the new Business Connect program launched by County Executive Marc Elrich at the Upcounty Regional Services Center located at 12900 Middlebrook Road.

Business Connect is a business assistance hub where small business owners can get information, support and training to start or grow their companies. The Germantown location makes it more convenient for thousands of Upcounty businesses to connect with County services. Assistance is available by appointment.

This new program provides counseling, classes and connections to local business owners in their own communities to help them succeed and grow. It launched Wednesday, May 8, during Small Business Week. Results from the Upcounty pilot will be used to design a Countywide Business Connect program available at all regional services centers over the next year.

Business Connect will offer workshops on County processes such as procurement and permitting and will work with local chambers of commerce to provide informative “lunch and learn” sessions from subject matter experts.

For information and resources related to starting and growing a business in Montgomery County, visit the Montgomery County Business Portal.

When visiting the Montgomery County Business Portal, click on Training Workshops (at the top right of the website) to register for these upcoming classes at the Upcounty Regional Services Center:
To book an appointment with the County’s Business Solutions Group, email bizportal@montgomerycountymd.gov.

MCDOT Day and Truck Show Puts Kids in the Driver’s Seat

Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) invites kids of all ages to the MCDOT Day and Truck Show. The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, at the Gaithersburg Depot located at 17000 Crabbs Branch Way.

This free event provides an opportunity to touch a truck and enjoy demonstrations of a wide range of vehicles, including a claw truck, gradall, bucket truck, dump truck and loader. Rounding out the on-site fleet will be a flusher truck, sidewalk snow removal equipment, skidloader, patch truck, leafing truck, plow truck, salt brine truck, backhoe, line painting truck and Ride On bus.

Additionally, visitors can play with remote controlled toy trucks, learn about MCDOT operations and collect giveaways.

Students Have the Chance to Serve as Honorary Councilmember for a Day

Montgomery County high school students once again have a chance to serve as honorary Councilmember for a day. Montgomery County Councilmember Craig Rice, who chairs the Council’s Education Committee, will host again this year one Montgomery County high school or middle school student who will shadow Councilmember Rice. The winner will participate in a Council breakfast, receive a Council proclamation, participate in a full Council meeting and receive a top prize of $500.

Students in eighth through 11th grade are invited to submit videos (of two minutes or less) or written essays (500 words or less) addressing the following:

In your opinion, what is the most important public policy issue facing young people today? What suggestions do you have for national, state and local leaders to address this issue?

The Council has created an online form for all contest submissions. The form can be accessed at: https://tinyurl.com/cm4aday2019 . Submissions must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 14.

Ten students will be selected as finalists based on the quality and creativity of their entries. The second and third place finishers will receive $250 and $100 gift cards, respectively. All finalists will receive official Council certificates and the winning student will be announced at the Council’s Youth Town Hall meeting in the fall. Submissions must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 14.

Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services Offers Free Deck Inspections in May

The Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services is offering free deck inspections during the month of May as part of its Building Safety Month celebration.

Residents should call 3-1-1 or 240-777-0311 to schedule their free deck inspection.

More information is available here.

Spanish Language Telenovelas and Movies Available for Free Streaming at Montgomery County Public Libraries

Montgomery County Public Libraries in partnership with Recorded Books, now offers unlimited streaming access to Spanish language telenovelas and movies on Póngalo.

Póngalo offers unlimited access to a large collection (over 10,000 episodes) of Spanish-language telenovelas and TV series. Watch more than 13,000 hours of major U.S. studio content translated to Spanish, and popular translated Hollywood favorites, including Two for the Money, The Animal, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Tears of the Sun and more. Póngalo offers thousands of shows, including original programming and exclusive content.

Póngalo can be accessed on mobile devices, tablets and desktop computers through the RBdigital app.

Montgomery County Public Libraries Contemporary Conversations to Host Bob Levey, Former Washington Post Columnist and TV-radio Commentator

Bob Levey
Prize-winning journalist and TV-radio commentator Bob Levey is the guest for the upcoming Contemporary Conversations @ MCPL series presented by Montgomery County Public Libraries. The free event will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, at the Chevy Chase Library located at 8005 Connecticut Ave.

Levey will discuss the status of journalism today and talk about his 37-year career as a reporter who covered all aspects of life in the nation’s capital. For 23 years, he wrote a daily column, “Bob Levey’s Washington,” for The Washington Post. Seven times, Levey was named one of the most popular columnists in Washington by Washingtonian Magazine.

Additionally, Levy will talk about his recent novel, “Larry Felder, Candidate”, which takes a close-up look at big-time newspaper and contemporary Washington-area politics. The book tells the story of a long-time D.C. journalist who decides to run for Congress in Montgomery County.

Early signup is recommended as these events typically fill. Registration is available at the MCPL website.

Taste the World in Fenton Village Returns to Silver Spring

Dozens of restaurants featuring cuisine from around the globe will be showcased at the Taste the World in Fenton Village scheduled from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 19. The festival is located several blocks south of downtown Silver Spring between Wayne, Georgia and Sligo avenues and Fenton Street.

Taste the World in Fenton Village is the largest restaurant crawl in the D.C. area. Fenton Village is an eclectic, diverse community made up of small business owners.

For more information, including a map of participating restaurants and other event details, go to Fenton Village website.

April 10, 2019

4Business: Benchmarking to Be the Best for Business

County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council Vice President Sidney Katz are embarking on a multi-pronged joint initiative: 4Business – Benchmarking to Be the Best for Business.  The objective is to engage the local business community in a grassroots campaign to assist businesses to locate, grow and prosper in Montgomery County.  

The first 4Business session is set for Wednesday, April 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the third-floor hearing room at the Council Office Building located at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville.

Additional sessions are scheduled across the County:
For more information, visit the Department of Permitting Services website.

Joint Statement from the Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and the County Council President Nancy Navarro on the Passing of Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates Michael E. Busch

Maryland’s Speaker of the House
of Delegates, Michael E. Busch
“We join many Marylanders mourning the death of Maryland’s Speaker of the House of Delegates, Michael E. Busch. Speaker Busch’s contributions made a difference in the lives of residents all around the State and here in Montgomery County.  Through his leadership, many more Marylander’s have access to affordable health care and a quality public education system.  Because of Speaker Busch’s strong support this year for the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations, the course has been charted for our public k-12 education system to be the best in the nation.  Speaker Busch was a man of high integrity, and he led the House of Delegates accordingly.  Maryland’s longest-serving Speaker of the House and the man behind so many milestone accomplishments will be missed by all.”

Joint Statement from Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council President Nancy Navarro on the 2019 Legislative Session

We want to recognize and thank the Montgomery County Delegation for its hard work during the 2019 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly. With 32 members, we have the largest delegation in the state. This talented group is energetic and committed to moving the County’s agenda forward. Most of the County’s goals set for the 2019 session were either met or there was progress made, thanks to the delegation’s diligence.

Direct state aid to the County will increase by more than $56 million, with $53 million earmarked for Montgomery County Public Schools. This includes $24.4 million for implementation of the Education Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. The County will also receive more than $57 million dollars for much-needed school construction. This funding is critical in addressing the backlog of projects in Montgomery County and ensures that our students will continue to have the best opportunities to learn and grow. Additional capital funding has also been secured for Montgomery College, our libraries, health facilities and parks which all contribute to our outstanding quality of life.

In addition, we want to congratulate our lawmakers for their efforts to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act. This bill requires the state’s electric utilities to acquire half of their energy from renewable sources by 2030. The bill also would require lawmakers to develop a plan by 2023 to put the state on track for totally carbon-free power by 2040. This measure falls in line with our goals here in the County to live and work green. We have been carbon neutral here since 2016 and have reduced our carbon footprint by 23 percent.

We are also grateful that legislation to create a panel that would look at the high cost of prescription drugs was passed. The panel will examine what other states are doing to reduce the prohibitive costs of some of these drugs.

We appreciate the service of our Montgomery County Delegation all year long but especially during the 90-day legislative session. We will continue to work with its members on the needs of our residents, as we begin our budget deliberations.

Montgomery County’s Green Government Sustainable Operations are Strong

Montgomery County’s Department of General Services has released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Montgomery County Green Government Report. This annual report documents the County’s progress with energy efficiency, green buildings, smart growth, water conservation, biodiversity, waste reduction, green transportation, renewable resources and resiliency.

This report highlights the progress and accomplishments of Montgomery County’s FY18 green government initiatives. Read the report here.

50+ Employment Expo for Midlife and Older Job Seekers 

The 50+ Employment Expo  is where thousands of midlife and older jobseekers network with area employers and community resource organizations, get a free resume review, and learn new job-search skills.  It will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, April 15 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center located at 5701 Marinelli Road. 

Job seekers do not need to register for this free event. Take Metro to White Flint station or park at Maryland Garage and get a parking voucher at the conference.

Read more about Expo here.

StoryCorps Will Come to Silver Spring Through a Partnership with WAMU to Record, Preserve and Share the Region’s Stories

StoryCorps, a National Public Radio production, is coming to Silver Spring from April 23 through May 22. The small silver trailer, which is the studio for people to share their stories, will be set up in front of the Silver Spring Civic Building located at Veterans Plaza.

StoryCorps is a nonprofit organization that has recorded people having meaningful conversations since 2003. The recorded conversation takes place in the MobileBooth and can be recorded in any language the storyteller chooses. The slots are open to anyone who wishes to have a conversation with someone in their life.

Registration opened on April 9, and the second slot of registrations will open on Wednesday, April 24. Registration is limited.

Anyone who shares their story will receive a copy of the recorded conversation, and if you give permission, it will be preserved in the Library of Congress.

For more information, or to register, visit the website.