August 5, 2019

Grammy and Emmy Winner Arturo Sandoval Headlines 16th Annual Silver Spring Jazz Festival Saturday, Aug. 24

Grammy award-winning musician Arturo Sandoval will headline the Silver Spring Jazz Festival, which will take place on Saturday, Aug. 24, from 3 to 10 p.m. in Veterans Plaza located at One Veterans Place. 

New this year, the Jazz Festival is scheduled the weekend before the Labor Day holiday to make it the County’s end-of-the-summer celebration.

Arturo Sandoval, a protégé of the legendary jazz master Dizzy Gillespie, was born in Artemisa, a small town in the outskirts of Havana, Cuba, in 1949. Just two years earlier Gillespie became the first musician to bring Latin influences into American jazz. Sandoval began studying classical trumpet at the age of 12 and has evolved into one of the world’s most acknowledged guardians of jazz trumpet and flugel horn, as well as a renowned classical artist, pianist and composer.

Sandoval has won four Grammy Awards, six Billboard Awards and an Emmy Award for his composing work on the entire underscore of the HBO movie based on his life, “For Love or Country,” which starred Andy Garcia. He recently performed on the Grammy Awards broadcast with pop-phenomenon Justin Timberlake, as well as on the Latin Billboard Awards with the gifted Alicia Keys. At those ceremonies, he was awarded his sixth Billboard Award for “Best Latin Jazz Album.”

Silver Spring has earned a reputation of being one of the most diverse and dynamic communities in the country, where there is always something to do and enjoy. Activities and events embrace the Arts & Entertainment District’s culture of being a welcoming community that values vibrant arts and diverse experiences.

Elrich Fills More Key Positions

When the Montgomery County Council confirmed Angela Talley as the first African American woman to lead the County’s Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (DOCR) – nationally recognized for its work in the fight against recidivism. Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich moved another step closer to filling all vacancies in his administration.

The Council also recently confirmed Elrich’s nominations for the director of the County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); the director and deputy director of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA); and the director for the County’s Office of Human Resources (OHR).

The list of confirmed appointees is as follows –

DHCA Director Aseem Nigam – Nigam has more than 26 years of results-driven experience in housing finance and development, and quantitative research and evaluation. He joins the County after working in Fairfax, Va., where he was the director of Real Estate Finance and Grants Management for the Fairfax County Redevelopment & Housing Authority.

DHCA Deputy Director Frank Demarais – Having accrued a broad range of responsibilities in the housing industry since 1979, including local and national program development, management of mortgage loan products and affordable housing development, Demarais joins the County after having served as the Home Purchase Assistance Program Manager at the Washington, D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development.

DHHS Director Raymond Crowel – Crowel has more than 30 years of experience leading senior-level teams and partnerships in creating and managing services that address complex health and human service needs. He served as chief of DHHS’ Behavioral Health and Crisis Services for the past 10 years, leading staff in the implementation of core behavioral health, substance abuse and crisis services. In this role, he jointly established and co-chaired the County’s Opioid Intervention Team, a cross-departmental effort to coordinate data-driven efforts to reduce opioid overdoses and addiction. Recently, he helped broker a public-private partnership to design, build and operate a new addiction-treatment facility, which is currently under construction, on the site of the Avery Road Treatment Center.

DOCR Director Angela Talley – Since joining the County in 1990, including two years with DHHS and 27 with DOCR, Talley has years of management oversight of adult correctional facilities, Pre-Trial Services and juvenile justice programs. She also has expertise in management; corrections; criminal justice; Pre-Trial Services and Pre-Trial Reform; court and jail diversion; correctional facility operations; correctional program and services; offender work force development and work release; accreditation; administration; human resource management; labor relations and case management services. Talley had been serving as acting director since her predecessor, Rob Green, departed in May 2019 to be the head of the State’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

OHR Director Berke Atilla – Recognized by The Daily Record as one of the 2018 Very Important Professionals Successful Before 40 in Maryland, Atilla has expertise in executive management; human capital development; financial analysis; budgeting; asset management; change management; business improvement; and performance management and measurement. Atilla joins the County from the City of Baltimore where he was the CFO and chief of the Office of Fiscal and Strategic Management for the city’s Department of General Services.

Remaining vacancies include the chief of the Montgomery County Police Department, as well as directors for the County’s Public Libraries, Department of Permitting Services, Department of Finance and the Department of Technology Services. Though not department directors, Elrich will also nominate a Chief Equity Officer and a Chief Digital Officer. All appointments require confirmation by the County Council.


Now Hiring in Montgomery County

Montgomery County Recreation is hosting two job fairs for those looking for part-time employment to work at the new community recreation center opening in Wheaton in September. The jobs fairs will be held at the Recreation Administrative Office, located at 4010 Randolph Road in Silver Spring.

The dates of the fairs:
  • Wednesday, Aug. 7, from 6:30 - 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 10, from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Call Montgomery County Recreation at 240-777-4980 for more information.

The United States Census Bureau is recruiting staff for Census 2020. The Census Bureau will hire hundreds of census takers in the County. Temporary jobs include census takers, recruiting assistants, office staff and supervisory staff.

Visit the website or call 1-855-JOB-2020 for more information. The pay rate for census jobs in Montgomery County is available here.

Elrich Announces Record Year of Finance through Montgomery County’s Housing Initiative Fund


Montgomery County’s Housing Initiative Fund (HIF) invested $103.7 million– the highest level of financing in its 30-year history – to generate 3,254 apartment units, including 1,982 units that are affordable to those with income up to 60 percent of the County average.

This year’s HIF funding was invested in 22 apartment buildings (12 existing and 10 new). The County’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs attributes this year’s record level of financing to the following:
  • The agency’s focus on preserving market rate affordable housing, especially properties that come through the Right of First Refusal
  • Several new construction projects closed – interest rates are good now
  • Preservation of existing affordable housing – several Low-Income Housing Tax Credit properties became available through the Right of First Refusal

County Expands Its Support of Local Businesses With New Silver Spring Business Connect Location


Montgomery County’s Business Solutions Group expanded its Business Connect program to the Silver Spring regional area on Monday, Aug. 5.

The Business Connect program is offered in several locations in the Silver Spring regional area including the Long Branch Community Center, the Long Branch Library, and the Silver Spring Library. The Business Connect program is managed by the Business Solutions Group, which includes the County’s small business navigator and business liaison officers.

For contact information, business starter kits, resources and more, visit the Montgomery County Business Portal.

As One Path to Homeownership, Elrich Wants Homebuyers to be Aware of a Potential Funding Source


As part of Montgomery County’s ongoing efforts to provide more paths to homeownership, the County has committed $1 million in Fiscal Year 2020 to this program with the state of Maryland. 

Residents are encouraged to apply for the Montgomery Homeownership Program of down payment assistance. Applicants who qualify and are approved for the Montgomery Homeownership Program may access Down Payment Assistance loans in amounts up to $25,000 – or up to 40 percent of the household income of the prospective homeowner – whichever is less. Funds may be used for down payment or closing costs. Approved buyers also will receive a competitive rate Maryland Mortgage Program Loan to help complete their home buying process.

For more information or to apply, visit the Montgomery Homeownership Program.

State-of-the-Art Wheaton Library and Community Recreation Center will open on Sunday, Sept. 8


The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Wheaton Library and Community Recreation Center will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8. The date and time for the ceremony have been updated due to a schedule change.

The $70.9 million project and 92,000-square foot building is located at 11701 Georgia Avenue. This is the first combined complex of its kind in Montgomery County. It will include a library, community recreation center, Friends of the Library used bookstore, a park, underground parking garage, and redesigned roadway.

The facility will open immediately after the ceremony.

Information about the facility is available on the Department of General Services website.

Community Forum Focuses on Eliminating Hate and Violence


Community members are invited to participate in a community forum aimed to confront and understand our past related to hate and violence in the County to work toward a stronger future. The forum is scheduled for at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 7 at the Silver Spring Civic Building located at One Veterans Plaza in Silver Spring. “Remembering the Past to Protect the Future” is the theme for the event hosted by Montgomery County’s Human Rights Commission, the Office of Human Rights, the Department of Police and the Committee Against Hate/Violence.

Read more about the event here.

Montgomery County's Department of Environmental Protection Searching for New Site for Larger, Modernized Recycling Facility


Montgomery County, recognized as a national leader in solid waste management, continues to look for ways to improve the overall recycling rate. While other jurisdictions across the nation are reconsidering aspects of their recycling programs, the County continues its commitment to increase recycling and reduce trash.

Aiming for zero waste, the County is working toward expanding recycling opportunities that may include partnerships with other local jurisdictions, addressing food waste processing and expanding recycling operations to likely include optical sorters and robotics.

The County is searching to find industrial properties that would allow expansion and modernization of its recycling operations. In advance of the master plan completion, the County is seeking expressions of interest for one or multiple sites that would be available to expand the County Materials Recovery Facility operations. Submissions are to be forwarded by 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20. Details of the solicitation are available here.

Business Incubation Network ‘1776’ is Opening First Maryland Location in Montgomery County


Earlier this month, "1776" announced it is partnering with the 100,000-plus square foot Greencourt Innovation Center to launch a new 15,000 square-foot hub for startups at 12358 Parklawn Drive in North Bethesda. The incubator campus is expected to open later this year.

1776 @ Greencourt Innovation Center is actively seeking collaborations with corporations, organizations, government agencies and stakeholders in Montgomery County.

In a press release, Greencourt co-founders Matthew Chervenak and Stephany Yu said the 1776 @ Greencourt Innovation Center will help build and sustain a community of entrepreneurs and innovators who are translating new ideas into products, services and ventures.

For more information about the Greencourt Innovation Center, visit its website.

Elrich, Rice and Rutherford Working to Address Mental Health Needs


County Executive Marc Elrich joined by Maryland Lt. Governor Rutherford and Montgomery Councilmember Craig Rice to address the County’s mental health needs at a recent meeting. Video courtesy of Montgomery College.

July 15, 2019

Tell Us What is on Your Mind: County Residents Encouraged to Participate in Community Survey


We want to hear from you! Do you have a few minutes to share your thoughts and perspectives on local government, its services and quality of life?

The County’s online survey, open through Friday, July 19, can be taken in English, Spanish or Chinese.

The 2019 Resident Survey was mailed to 5,000 randomly selected County households in the first week of June. Residents who did not receive the questionnaire in the mail are encouraged to participate online.

County Remembers Homeless Individuals at Third Annual Memorial Service



A recent memorial service remembered 31 individuals who died in the past year while homeless, or who were previously homeless and received County and nonprofit services. The names of the individuals were read by nonprofit organizations who work with the County to provide services. Those who died were remembered as not just a ‘homeless’ person, but as a community member.

In the annual Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Point-in-Time survey conducted in Jan. 2019, there were 647 persons experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County and 85 families with children. Since 2017, there has been a 28 percent decrease in the overall number of persons experiencing homelessness, the most significant decrease in any two-year period since 2009.

Montgomery County achieved the goal of ending veteran homelessness in Dec. 2015 and continues to work to maintain functional zero homelessness through continual monitoring and tracking.

In 2017, the Interagency Commission on Ending Homelessness launched "Inside (Not Outside)," an initiative aimed at ending chronic homelessness in the County. Through the efforts of Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services and nonprofit providers in the community such as Bethesda Cares, Catholic Charities, Coalition for the Homeless and Interfaith Works, 420 individuals have been placed in permanent supportive housing.

A current focus is on ending homelessness for families with children.

More information about services for the homeless and data on progress made is available at montgomerycountymd.gov/homelessness.

Brookside Gardens Celebrates 50 Years


Brookside Gardens recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Brookside Gardens opened on July 13, 1969. Five decades later, Brookside Gardens attracts more than 400,000 visitors annually and features permanent and seasonal displays and two conservatories. It hosts engaging events and programs, including the Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly and Caterpillar exhibit and the Garden of Lights display.

For more information, visit the Montgomery Parks website.

Registration Is Open for County’s Thanksgiving Parade

Montgomery County is accepting applications to participate in the televised Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade in Downtown Silver Spring. The County is looking for interesting and talented community groups and other organizations to march in the parade.

The Saturday before Thanksgiving is the one day of the year when the Downtown Silver Spring streets are overrun with turkeys, dinosaurs, penguins, reindeer, marching bands, dancing groups, floats, balloons, and Santa.

Applications to participate are due by Monday, Sept. 23.

The Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade will be held on Saturday, Nov. 23 beginning at 10 a.m. For more information, visit the Downtown Silver Spring website.

Transfer Station Now Accepting Credit and Debit Cards for Tipping Fees



The Montgomery County Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station now accepts credit cards to pay for tipping fees. Previously, only cash and checks were accepted. The fees primarily impact commercial users with trash loads or yard waste loads of 500 pounds or more.

All major credit cards are accepted including debit cards, American Express, and Apple Pay.

The current fees for trash loads exceeding 500 pounds is $60 per ton. The fees for materials delivered for disposal in open-top roll-off boxes (for all amounts) is $70 per ton. The fees for yard waste exceeding 500 pounds is $46 per ton.

More information is available in the press release.

Community Forum Focuses on Eliminating Hate and Violence from the County


Community members are invited to participate in a community forum aimed to confront and understand our past related to hate and violence in the County so we can work together on the shared goal of building a more unified, cohesive community.

The forum is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 7, at 6:45 p.m. at the Silver Spring Civic Building located at One Veterans Plaza. “Remembering the Past to Protect the Future” will be hosted by Montgomery County’s Human Rights Commission, the Office of Human Rights, the Department of Police and the Committee Against Hate/Violence.

The program will include film screenings of “This Little Light of Mine: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer,” a documentary by Robin Hamilton of ARound Robin Productions and “Burning: The Lynching of George Armwood,” a documentary by Will Schwarz.

Following the documentaries, Schwarz, a Baltimore-based filmmaker, video producer and founder of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project, will provide a brief overview of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project, Inc. In addition, local historian and The Menare Foundation, Inc. President Anthony Cohen will discuss lynchings that took place in the County. James Stowe, the director of Human Rights will give a brief overview of the County’s current Remembrance Lynching Activities. A Police Department representative will present the current status of county hate crimes.

Human Rights Commissioner and Montgomery County Human Rights Hall of Fame member Terry Vann will moderate a panel discussion and a question and answer segment.

Stowe and Schwarz will be joined on the panel by Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones; Anthony Cohen; and Willie Pearl Mackie King, who transcribed Dr. Martin Luther King’s letter from the Birmingham Jail.

More information about the event is available in the press release.

June 26, 2019

Holiday Schedule for Independence Day

      Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Independence          Day.
  • County Offices - closed.
  • Libraries - closed.
  • Department of Liquor Control retail stores - all stores open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Recreation - Aquatics programs and facilities open. The Germantown Indoor Swim Center closes at 3 p.m. All other pools close at 6 p.m. All recreation centers, senior centers and administrative offices are closed.
  • Montgomery Parks - visit www.MontgomeryParks.org.
  • Ride On - operates on a Saturday schedule.
  • Metrorail and Metrobus - Information available at www.wmata.com.
  • TRiPS Commuter Store (Silver Spring) - open from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • TRiPS Mobile Commuter 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.
  • Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station - entire facility closed.
  • Parking at garages, lots, curbside meters -free.
  • State offices and courts – closed.

County’s Independence Day Celebrations Feature Fireworks and Free Concerts in Germantown and Kensington


Montgomery County Recreation will host two Independence Day fireworks displays on Thursday, July 4.
  • Germantown Glory will be held at the South Germantown Recreational Park located at 18041 Central Park Circle in Germantown (Boyds). The event kicks off at 7 p.m. with a concert by Quiet Fire, a soul, rhythm and blues and rock band that covers hits from the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
  • Mid-County Sparkles takes place at Albert Einstein High School located at 11135 Newport Road in Kensington. The festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. with a concert by Bobby & the Believers, a Motown and rock and roll cover band.
The fireworks will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m. The timing of the fireworks may change due to weather conditions. Low lawn chairs, blankets and coolers are welcome at both events. Food vendors will serve both locations. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted. The rain date for the fireworks only is July 5.

Montgomery County Recreation thanks its sponsors - the Maryland Soccerplex, Montgomery Parks and Westfield Wheaton - for their support.

More information about the celebrations, including parking information, is available on the Montgomery County Recreation website.

New Taxpayer Receipt Module on Website

 https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/tax-receipt

Recently Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich unveiled the County’s new “Taxpayer Receipt.” The County is the first jurisdiction in the region to implement this online tool that enables taxpayers to see how their estimated local income and property taxes will support budgeted services for the Fiscal Year 2020 (July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020).

Taxpayers can enter their estimated income into the module and, if they own a home, its estimated value will be displayed in an itemized list that indicates how tax dollars are utilized by the County for education, public safety, transportation, and other services.

Visit montgomerycountymd.gov/tax-receipt to view your taxpayer receipt. 

What You Need to Know About County Executive Marc Elrich’s Economic Vision


Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich recently presented his vision for economic development to the County Council.

Economic Vision
Focuses on building a modern economy that encourages entrepreneurship, moves people and goods efficiently, develops today’s and tomorrow’s workforce, reduces burdensome regulations and promotes opportunity for all.

Five components of Elrich’s economic vision include:
  1. Creating a robust transportation system to move people, goods and data efficiently for doing business. Elrich’s transportation team is working to advance a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system as quickly and efficiently as possible, and is supporting innovation, including the pilot FLEX microtransit program. Elrich is working to gain support for the addition of two reversible lanes on I-270, and he is working with state and regional partners to support Metro.
  2. Better development of our workforce. Education is an integral part of the County’s economic development infrastructure from early childhood development to lifelong learning to attracting young families and to matching jobs with available talent.
  3. Enhancing entrepreneurship. The Elrich administration is reviewing its overall entrepreneurial climate and strategy – including a look at its three existing incubators. They are also focused on branding the County better to promote the rich array of available assets and to connect local businesses with resources and services.
  4. Engaging cooperatively with business leaders and business owners around the County to identify what they need to thrive in Montgomery County.
  5. Tracking our progress: measuring the performance of the County, its Economic Development Corporation and WorkSource Montgomery for results.
During the first six months of his administration, Elrich hosted six 4Business listening sessions; personally visited local companies; made procurement more user friendly; opened the Business Connect hub at the Upcounty Regional Services Center; and drafted the Small Business Strategic Plan.

In the coming weeks and months, the Silver Spring Business Connect hub will open and two roundtable charrettes are planned later this year as part of the 4Business: Benchmarking to Be the Best for Business initiative. Elrich encourages the business community to send their input about doing business in Montgomery County to 4business@montgomerycountymd.gov by August 31.

Montgomery County Government is Hiring


Looking for a fulfilling career that offers a competitive salary and excellent benefits? Montgomery County has dozens of open positions in rewarding positions. County employees serve an essential community need while building a thriving career.

With more than 30 departments, there are potential career opportunities in areas including executive/managerial; public safety; health and human services; labor and trades; administrative and more.

More important, than filling positions is finding the right fit for the position. Montgomery County hires team members who value innovation and inclusiveness and reflect the County’s culture of serving with integrity and purpose.

While Montgomery County employees come from around the globe, a preponderance of the County’s workforce comes from within our community. County residents are encouraged to regularly visit the Office of Human Resources' recently redesigned recruitment website to see available positions, which are updated often.

For more information on the process, visit the application tutorial resource.

Elrich Appointee Raymond Crowel to Serve as Director of County’s Department of Health and Human Services

County Executive Marc Elrich (L) and Director
of Health and Human Services Raymond Crowel (R)
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has appointed Raymond Crowel to serve as the new director for the County’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The nomination was unanimously confirmed by County Council on Tuesday, June 24.

Crowell has more than 30 years of experience leading senior level teams and partnerships in creating and managing service systems that effectively and efficiently address complex human service needs. He has extensive experience in managing the needs of vulnerable populations including children and families involved in the child welfare system youth and adults involved in the justice system as well as the immigrant and ethnically diverse communities.

Crowell served as the chief of behavioral health and crisis services with the Department of HHS for the past 10 years.

The mission of the Department of Health and Human Services is to promote and ensure the health and safety of the residents of Montgomery County and to build individual and family strength and self-sufficiency.

With more than 3,000 employees and 120 programs, HHS is the County’s largest department. The agency is responsible for public health and human services that help address the needs of Montgomery County’s most vulnerable children, adults and seniors. The department’s core services protect the community’s health, protect the health and safety of at-risk children and vulnerable adults, and address basic human needs including food, shelter and clothing.

Dynamic Ride On Flex On-Demand Service Reshaping How Residents Get Around


Montgomery County’s first public microtransit service, Ride On Flex, launched on Wednesday, June 26. This dynamic on-demand service offers new and affordable transportation options in the Rockville and Glenmont/Wheaton service areas. The no-fixed-route, no-fixed-schedule service will reshape the way some residents think about getting around in the served areas.

Riders can request trips from a designated pick up location to a drop-off location within the same service zone using a mobile app. The Ride On Flex app is available for free download from the Apple or Google store.

An 11-passenger bus will provide service within the pre-defined geographical zones at specific times of the day. Riders will be given an estimated time for pick up and drop off and directed to a nearby location. Flex will operate in the Rockville zone from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and in the Glenmont/Wheaton zone during peak periods (6 to 9 a.m. and 3:30 to 7 p.m.). The zones offer connections between households, transit hubs, commercial centers and public services.

Riders will pay no more than $2 for the service, as current Ride On fares will apply. While users will book a ride using the app, they will pay the fare as they board the bus, just as with any Ride On service.

Read more on the MCDOT Ride On Flex website.

Department of Liquor Control Gets New Name

The County’s Department of Liquor Control officially changed the name to Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) on July 1.

The new name reflects the department’s continued improvements to the ongoing business model, which modernizes and embraces the department’s commitment to customer service.

The rebranding spotlights the strategic business changes such as investments in new technology and infrastructure and streamlined updated processes that elevate customer services and communication.

ABS better defines the department’s work. The use of “alcohol beverage” was chosen over “liquor” because the department sells beer and wine in addition to liquor as part of its wholesale and retail operations.

The use of “services” instead of “control” emphasizes the customer service-oriented relationships the County department has worked hard to cultivate.

The department’s rebranding also includes a new tagline: A Business of Montgomery County Government.

The Maryland General Assembly approved the name change in its 2019 session.

More information is available on the department’s website.

2019 Farm Tour and Harvest Sale: Farm Life, Fresh Produce and Family Fun,


Save the dates! The 30th annual Montgomery County Farm Tour returns to the Agricultural Reserve on Saturday, July 27 and Sunday, July 28.

There are 19 participating farms on this year’s tour. Connect with nature and start a family tradition by picking your own produce, meeting the animals, learning about farming practices and more.

For the latest Farm Tour information, visit the Montgomery County Office of Agriculture website.

Whiskey Rocks Event Sets Single-Day Sales Record

The Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control (DLC) set a one-day store record of more than $116,000 in sales during the Whiskey Rocks celebration on June 14, which was held at the Burtonsville retail store located at 15620 Old Columbia Pike.

The whiskey celebration attracted hundreds of customers to taste and purchase hard to find whiskey products. Dozens of customers lined up the day before the event to be at the front of the line when the retail store opened.

Some of the sought-after whiskeys available for purchase at this event included: Elijah Craig 18-Year, Michter’s Barrel Strength, Mister Sam Tribute, Blood Oath Pact No. 5 and Old Fitzgerald 13-Year Bottled-in-Bond.

In addition, the Whiskey Rocks celebration featured tastings, raffles, a free lunch sponsored by Buffalo Trace, free seminars and special barrel releases that kept consumers engaged throughout much of the day. The night before the event, Dogfish Head Alehouse hosted a whiskey dinner at its Gaithersburg location, which was billed as part of the DLC’s Whiskey Rocks event.

All profits earned by the DLC are transferred to the Montgomery County General Fund supporting police and fire, transportation projects and other public services that tax dollars would otherwise fund.

The next Whiskey Rocks events is planned for January of 2020. To receive updates about upcoming DLC events, product lotteries and sales, visit the DLC’s website. 

Free Business Counseling Available and More


Business Connect, a program of the County’s Business Solutions Group, offers free one-on-one business counseling at the Upcounty Regional Services Center, located at 12900 Middlebrook Road in Germantown.

Sessions with experienced business counselors are available by appointment. Visit the Montgomery County Business Portal for a calendar of business events and workshops and to schedule your session.

The Business Portal calendar includes a full range of workshops on a variety of business topics to help you grow your business.

Is Your Deck Safe?



The Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services (DPS) extended its free residential deck inspection service into the summer months.

To schedule a free deck inspection in Montgomery County, call 3-1-1 or 240-777-0311.

Residents may request an inspection online by visiting the County’s website. Once the request is received, an inspector will contact the homeowner to schedule the inspection. 

Inspectors advise residents to thoroughly inspect their decks regularly to keep the structure sound and to ensure its longevity. For more information, download the Deck Maintenance Checklist, which is posted as a reference guide on the County’s website.

The free deck inspections are available to all Montgomery County residents - excluding Rockville and Gaithersburg residents who are served by the permitting departments of the City municipalities.

For more information about DPS, visit its website.

Free Summer Concerts Across the County


Montgomery County is jam packed with concerts all summer long with activities for you and the whole family. Visit Montgomery provided this roundup of summer concert fun to help you know what is in store.

Rio Summer Concerts
Silver Spring Summer Concert Series
  • June 20 to August 8, 7-9 p.m.
  • Gather the whole family for a fun free night out in Silver Spring, Maryland. The Silver Spring concert series includes kids’ games, face painting, and various genres of live music. The concerts take place at the Silver Spring Civic Building.
SummerFest in Gaithersburg
  • Saturday, June 29, 5-11 p.m.
  • Soak up the season at SummerFest in Gaithersburg. By day, you can enjoy the lively street festival filled with live music, great food, fireworks, and fun activities. By night, you’ll find yourself watching the spectacular fireworks and partake in an illuminating SummerGlo After Party.
Summer Concerts at Glen Echo Park
  • Every Thursday, June 6 to August 29, 2019 7:30 p.m.
  • Spend an evening at the historical Glen Echo Park for a free concert experience in the Bumper Car Pavilion. Plus, don’t miss out on a ride on the historic carousel for just $1.25.
Whalen Commons Summer Concert Series
  • Every Friday
  • Kick off your weekend with family and friends in Poolesville, Maryland at their summer concert series and jam out to various music genres like soul, rock and roll, and bluegrass.
Strathmore Lawn Series
  • Dates Vary
  • Grab a blanket and head over to the Strathmore for their Live from the Lawn concert series. Listen to an array of summer sounds including funk, soul, jazz, and blues.

Montgomery County Recreation Extends Hours at Five Community Recreation Centers Beginning July 5


Montgomery County Recreation is extending Friday and Saturday hours to 11 p.m. at five community recreation centers beginning July 5.

As of July 5, these five centers will open on Friday and Saturday during the following hours:
  • East County (10 a.m. to 11 p.m.) 3310 Gateshead Manor Way, Silver Spring
  • Good Hope (noon to 11 p.m.) 14715 Good Hope Road, Silver Spring
  • Long Branch (10 a.m. to 11 p.m.) 8700 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring
  • Plum Gar (Friday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.) 19561 Scenery Drive, Germantown
  • White Oak (9 a.m. to 11 p.m.) 1700 April Lane, Silver Spring
For more information about Montgomery County Recreation, visit its website.

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
$13
$12.50
$12.50
July 1, 2020
$14
$13.25
$13
July 1, 2021
$15
$14
$13.50
July 1, 2022
$15+ CPI-W
$14.50
$14
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.