October 23, 2019

Montgomery County Economic Development Week Highlighted by Welcoming New Companies—Including One Led by Brothers Who Are Blair High Alumni

Montgomery County Small Businesses

For the past 10 months, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has been visiting with business leaders and business owners to find out what they need to succeed in Montgomery County. The majority of businesses in Montgomery County are small. Among his messages has been: Government cannot make any business succeed—but it sure can help them to that goal by providing the support our businesses need.

Montgomery County, in partnership with the Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA), recently joined in the celebration of Economic Development Week in Maryland. County Executive Elrich used the opportunity to continue visiting businesses of all types and sizes—something he done since his first week in office.

During Economic Development Week, he joined local business leaders to welcome Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz and to discuss ways in which the State could help drive additional economic development in the community. Among the businesses he visited was the soon-to-be new operations of RADA Technologies, a radar systems manufacturer, in Germantown.

Another milestone in Economic Development Week was officially welcoming Truebill, Inc., a leading financial technology company, to Downtown Silver Spring. It relocated from the San Francisco Bay area. Truebill CEO Haroon Mokhtarzada is a serial tech entrepreneur and investor originally from Montgomery County — an alumnus of Montgomery Blair High School. He co-founded the company along with his brothers, Zeki, Idris and Yahya. Mokhtarzada.

The County provided $4.7 million in Fiscal Year 2019 for local business growth and expansion.

Last week, the County announced the expansion to the East County of the Business Connect program that brings needed advisory services to business owners, rather than having the previous limited access that was only available from an office in Rockville. The small business hubs were previously opened in Germantown and Silver Spring.

For more information on doing business in Montgomery County, visit the Montgomery County Business Portal.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich was among those formally welcoming Truebill, Inc., to Silver Spring. The leading financial technology company has relocated its corporate headquarters from the San Francisco Bay area.

County Will Continue Its ‘Triple-A’ Bond Rating

Montgomery County received great news last week when it learned that it will maintain its “Triple-A” bond rating from the three major Wall Street bond rating agencies. The County continued its status as a top-rated issuer of municipal securities, with the highest credit rating possible for a local government.

Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings all affirmed the Triple-A rating—the highest achievable—for the County.

Montgomery County has earned Triple-A ratings from Moody's Investors Service, Inc. every year since April 1973 (47 consecutive years); from Standard & Poor’s every year since 1976 (44 consecutive years) and from Fitch every year since 1991 (29 consecutive years).

The rating is very important. By having the highest rating for its bonds, the County can move ahead in building future projects that this County demands.

The analysis from Standard & Poor’s stated, “We view the county's management as very strong, with strong financial policies and practices under our FMA methodology, indicating financial practices are strong, well embedded and likely sustainable.”

More information about the recent affirmation of our bond rating is available here.

County Executive Elrich Leads Officials in Urging State to Return CCT to Maryland’s Long-term Transportation Plan

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich on Oct. 28 led a group of County Councilmembers, Federal, State and municipal officials, as well as Montgomery business leaders, to express their disappointment and concern with the Maryland Department of Transportation’s decision to eliminate the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) from the draft of the State 2020-25 Consolidated Transportation Program.

By deleting the public transportation project from its long-term plan, the State removes itself from the planning and funding of the project that would provide needed public transportation to support the Great Seneca Science Corridor in the Great Seneca Highway/Darnestown Road area. The CCT also would support the Universities of Shady Grove and would help the Montgomery’s UpCounty area that is overwhelmed with I-270 traffic.

County Executive Elrich and the other officials who spoke emphasized that the CCT was conceived to be an integral part of the growth and development of the area. It would provide transit to make the planned bio-tech area more accessible and encourage people and businesses to locate there.

Among those attending the event were County Council Vice President Sidney Katz; Councilmembers Evan Glass and Craig Rice; representatives for U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, Congressmen Jamie Raskin and David Trone, Maryland Senator Nancy King and Councilmember Gabe Albornoz; Maryland State Delegates David Fraser-Hidalgo (District 15), Lily Qi (District 15) and Kirill Reznik (District 39); Town of Washington Grove Mayor John G. Compton; City of Rockville Mayor Bridget Newton; and Town of Poolesville Commissioner Jerry Klobukowski. Community and business leaders attending included Maryland Balcombe, executive director of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce, and representatives of the Upcounty Citizens Advisory Board, the Germantown Alliance, and Montgomery Village.

Seniors Advocate Who Became Community Icon Austin Heyman Honored for Lifetime of Service

Montgomery County resident Austin Heyman, whose leadership contributions on behalf of County residents span several decades, was recently presented with the AARP Maryland J. Joseph Curran Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award. He also received separate proclamations from County Executive Marc Elrich and the County Council to celebrate his long record of accomplishments, which include his strong advocacy on senior issues.

AARP Maryland’s award is named for the esteemed statesman J. Joseph Curran Jr., former state representative, lieutenant governor and longtime attorney general. It recognizes exceptional individuals who have exhibited a lifetime of exemplary commitment to volunteerism and civic involvement. Austin Heyman is only the second person to receive this honor from AARP Maryland.

The proclamation, presented on behalf of County Executive Marc Elrich, recognizes Mr. Heyman’s extraordinary accomplishments on behalf of the broader community.

“Montgomery County owes a debt of gratitude for all he has done,” said County Executive Elrich. “He has been a volunteer in our County since the 1970s and has worked with people of all ages to better their lives through advocacy. He and his wife Barbara devoted themselves to every aspect of community involvement from children and educational issues, to intergenerational and cultural understanding, to advocacy for older adults and the disabled. Austin is a community icon, a visionary and an inspiration to residents of all ages in Montgomery County.”

County Council President Nancy Navarro and Councilmember Gabe Albornoz recognized and celebrated Mr. Heyman as a visionary and integral leader of the community who has demonstrated a life of service, creativity, integrity and purpose.
Learn more about Mr. Heyman’s accomplishments and the honors he recently received.

County Executive Elrich to Hold Three More Budget Forums

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich will hold the third of five budget forums at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30, to seek input from residents about the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) Operating Budget priorities. The forum will be held at the Silver Spring Civic Building at One Veterans Place in Silver Spring.

Previous budget forums were held in Wheaton and Chevy Chase.

The schedule for the remaining budget forums:
  • Wednesday, Oct 30. 7 - 8:30 p.m. Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place, Silver Spring.
  • Thursday, Nov 7. 7 - 8:30 p.m. BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown.
  • Wednesday, Nov 13. 7 - 8:30 p.m. Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center, 3300 Briggs Chaney Road, Silver Spring.
The budget forum briefing presentation can be viewed here.

Free Flu Shots Available from Montgomery County

Montgomery County health officials have announced that the annual flu vaccination campaign will provide free flu shots for healthy, school aged children (ages 3 to 18) from 1:30-4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov.12, at three locations. Students from any school may attend, but appointments must be made in advance.

Residents six months and older can receive a free flu shot from 4:30 - 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, at the Universities at Shady Grove / Building II at 9630 Gudelsky Drive in Rockville. Appointments are necessary in advance. Visitors will pay a parking fee and can park in the Traville Gateway Garage or Shady Grove Garage.

Shots for students will be offered at Kennedy High School (1901 Randolph Road in Silver Spring); Northwest High School (13501 Richter Farm Road in Germantown) and Rockville High School (2100 Baltimore Road in Rockville).

Appointments for either setting can be scheduled on the County’s website at montgomerycountymd.gov/flu. Appointments can also be made by calling 311.

Public Can Access Free County Services to Prevent and Address Domestic Violence

Highlighting that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, County Councilmember Sidney Katz and other County leaders are urging the public to access County services to prevent and address domestic violence.

“Montgomery County offers free services to help people who are experiencing domestic violence,” said County Executive Elrich. “I urge anyone experiencing these issues to call our Family Justice Center or our Abused Persons Program – both offer free, confidential support to help promote safety, well-being and healing. Please spread the word.”

In an event to promote the services offered by the County, Elrich and Katz were joined at the Executive Office Building in Rockville by Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones, Sheriff Darren M. Popkin, State's Attorney John McCarthy, Assistant State’s Attorney Debbie Feinstein, Nicole Drew, president of the Commission for Women, and representatives of the Family Justice Center, the Abused Persons Program and members of the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council.

Montgomery County residents who would like to talk with someone and learn their options can call the Family Justice Center at 240-773-0444 or the Abused Persons Program at 240-777-4673. Both programs offer residents free, coordinated services and support. However, in case of emergency, people should not hesitate to dial 911.

More information on County services that can help is available at the press release.

Arts and Humanities Council and DEP Team Up to Offer Grants for Art Relating to the Environment

The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC), in collaboration with the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), is seeking Requests for Qualifications (RFQs) for three art projects relating to the future of the environment. The deadline to submit proposals for each program is Friday, Nov. 8.

AHCMC and DEP are calling on artists and community organizations to help facilitate the collective reflection about the state of the environment, particularly as it relates to climate change, waste reduction, and water quality.

They are sponsoring three grants for artists to develop temporary artworks that engage the community around the issue of climate change.

To be eligible for consideration, artists must live and/or work in Montgomery County. Artists will also be required to apply for the grant in collaboration with a non-profit organization or public entity, in order to demonstrate community support and volunteer capacity.

Details on the RFQ is available at creativemoco.com.

Opioid Crisis Efforts Include Expanded Naloxone Training and Streamlined Treatment Options

County Executive Marc Elrich and the County’s Opioid Intervention Team (OIT) recently updated the progress the County has made in addressing the opioid crisis in Montgomery County. A key component of the local effort has been focused on making Naloxone, which can help those who have overdosed, readily available in the community.

Latest data shows that there have been 49 overdose deaths to-date this year and 320 non-fatal overdoses since January. In September, there were seven overdose deaths and 38 lives saved through the use of Naloxone.

Members of the OIT who joined for the update included co-chairs Raymond Crowel, who is the director of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Earl Stoddard, who is director of the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Director. Also supporting the effort were Fire Chief Scott Goldstein, Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones, State’s Attorney John J. McCarthy and County Sheriff Darren Popkin.

“Montgomery County, along with every county in Maryland, has too many overdose deaths and individuals who are addicted,” said Elrich. “We need to tackle the problem from many angles and the OIT has directed resources towards prevention, education, and treatment. No family should experience the overdose death of a loved one.”

During Fiscal Year 2019 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019), more than 1,500 residents attended free Naloxone training and nearly 2,500 free Naloxone kits, which include two doses, were distributed through classes and community events.

More information at the programs the County offers in the battle against opioid abuse is available on press release or montgomerycountymd.gov/opioids.

Record 176 Bicycles Donated at Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Annual Collection

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) realized several years ago that, as the County continued to expand its bicycle path network, more people would likely want to take advantage of the increased opportunities. It also realized that not all of those who wanted to ride bikes could afford them.

Three years ago, to celebrate Community Service Month celebration, MCDOT set aside a day to collect bicycles from people who were no longer using them or who did not want to make minor repairs to them. The first year of the event led to 100 bicycles being donated. Last year, 120 bicycles were donated. At the third annual event, held on Oct. 18, a record number of 176 adult and children’s bikes were donated in Rockville to benefit people in need.

In addition to the bikes, the drive collected various bike parts, including bike frames, wheels and tires.

The donated bikes and parts will go to the Rockville Bike Hub, a nonprofit organization whose volunteers refurbish the bikes and then give them to low-income residents in the County. The bicycles are distributed through Rockville’s Terrific Kids program and via other charitable organizations that distribute bikes during the holidays.

Learn more about the collection event here.

Office of Consumer Protection Warns About Increased Scams Involving Craigslist Around the Holidays

Shopping or selling on Craigslist can be convenient, but Montgomery County’s Office of Consumer Protection has a warning about either end of potential transactions: buyers and sellers beware—especially around the holidays. This open marketplace also contains scams targeting both buyers and sellers.

Eric Friedman, the director of the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection, said scams involving Craigslist can involve transactions as simple as merchandise or as complicated as real estate.

“Although this marketplace is a great way to do direct business for many, it also has opened an entire criminal world of people trying to take advantage of those expecting to simply improve their lives through what they believe to be a great deal that they can make online,” said Department Director Friedman. “And as much as this goes on throughout the year, the holiday season is an especially ripe time for criminals because they try to take advantage of people when they are distracted by many special events, looking for holiday deals or ready to make changes as the new year approaches.”

Director Friedman said those looking to rent a house or apartment need to watch out for fake advertisements.

In addition, sellers and buyers in Montgomery County are invited by County Police to conduct transactions at “exchange zones” at Police stations in order to exchange merchandise and payment.

For additional information about this or other scams, and to file complaints, contact the County Office of Consumer Protection via email at ConsumerProtection@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov or by phone at 240-777-3636. More information is available here.

County Alcohol Beverage Services Begins Holiday Clearance Sale at Its 25 Retail Stores

Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) is now discounting hundreds of items in each of its 25 retail stores to make way for new products this holiday season. The clearance sale will run through Thanksgiving, ending with an additional Black Friday promotion on Nov. 29.

Just in time to stock up before the holiday season, the clearance sale will include thousands of bottles that are not likely to be reordered, older vintages or those that have limited production. The effort will make shelf space for more new items, seasonal releases and local Maryland made items.

Clearance pricing will not be available on the online portal as pricing and assortment will vary by store. Additional discounts or coupons will not apply on clearance sale prices.

ABS is also in the process of rebranding its 25 stores. The first of the new concept stores will open in early 2020. A spirits-only store, the first of its kind in Montgomery County, will open in Poolesville this winter.

For more information on ABS smontgomerycountymd.gov/ABS/.
tores and its clearance sale, go to

New ‘Energy Connection’ Website Launch and First of Four “Energy Roadshows” Set for Wednesday, Oct. 30

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, County Councilmember Tom Hucker, Director of the Department of Environmental Protection Adam Ortiz and Director of the Montgomery County Public Libraries Anita Vassallo are scheduled to help close out October as Energy Action Month by formally announcing the launch of the County’s new “Energy Connection” website. The website is a comprehensive network providing information on the benefits of energy efficiency, availability of programs and opportunities for assistance. It will help residents keep more money in their pockets by reducing the amount of energy they use in their homes.

The website will be launched at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the Rockville Memorial Library. It will proceed the first of four “Energy Roadshows” the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will host over the next few weeks. Energy Roadshows are open-house-style events to learn about all things energy, including how to make homes more comfortable year-round, various options for switching to renewable energy and how to spot energy scams.

The Rockville Memorial Library is located at 21 Maryland Ave. in Rockville Town Center.

The Energy Connection website is a collection of information compiled by Montgomery County DEP and other partner organizations. To learn more about the Montgomery Energy Connection website, visit montgomeryenergyconnection.org.

The schedule for upcoming Roadshow events:
  • Wednesday, Oct. 30. 5:30 -7:30 p.m. Rockville Memorial Library, 21 Maryland Ave., Rockville.
  • Thursday, Nov. 7, 5:30 -7:30 p.m. Silver Spring Library, 900 Wayne Ave., Silver Spring.
  • Thursday, Nov. 14, 5:30 -7:30 p.m. Germantown Library, 19840 Century Blvd., Germantown.
  • Thursday, Nov. 21, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Olney Library, 3500 Olney Laytonsville Rd., Olney.
More information on Energy Roadshows is available at https://mygreenmontgomery.org/2019/check-out-the-energy-roadshow/

    Marilyn J. Praisner Library Branch to Reopen on Saturday, Nov. 16

    County Executive Marc Elrich will join community members and other elected officials at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand reopening of the newly refreshed Montgomery County Public Libraries’ Marilyn J. Praisner Branch located at 14910 Old Columbia Pike in Burtonsville.

    The refresh for the library includes new ergonomic sit-stand circulation, information, and self-checkout desks; renovation of the public restrooms; new painting and flooring; replacement of ceiling tiles; rearrangement of shelving and seating within the library; upgraded lighting with improved energy-efficient, and brighter, LED lamps; new furniture; dual-drinking fountain with bottle-filling station; and new window shades in the meeting rooms.

    The Friends of the Library, Marilyn J. Praisner chapter, will provide refreshments immediately following the ceremony.

    Partial funding for the project was provided by the County Library Capital Grant Program, Maryland State Library, as authorized by the Maryland General Assembly and supported by the Montgomery County Delegation.

    Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services Names Celeste McIntosh 2019 Employee of the Year

    Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) hosted its third Employee of the Year Award ceremony and named Celeste McIntosh the ABS Employee of the Year. There were five other employees who were also recognized for their outstanding service during a ceremony at the Montgomery County Public Safety Headquarters in Gaithersburg.

    County Executive Marc Elrich and ABS Director Bob Dorfman presented the awards to the honorees in front of their colleagues, family, and friends.

    “These awards are going to people who are helping us to change the image of ABS,” said County Executive Elrich. “It is about more than changing the name of the organization—it is about changing the culture, and these employees represent the great work that they and their colleagues are doing to make ABS a successful organization.”

    McIntosh, the winner in the category of “retail store managers and assistant managers,” was chosen from among the six category award recipients as the overall employee of the year. She received a separate trophy and 40 hours of paid leave.

    More about the awards program and the five other respective winners can be found here.

    For an online calendar with upcoming business training events, visit montgomerycountymd.gov/biz.

    October 15, 2019

    Message from the County Executive: Attend a Budget Forum

    County Executive Marc Elrich
    When I campaigned to become County Executive, I promised, that if given the chance, I would lead a new approach to governing Montgomery County. When I took office in December 2018, the basics for the Fiscal Year 2020 budget were already in place. However, starting this year, we can start making that difference in the way Montgomery County operates—and change starts with your ideas, suggestions and vision. 

    There will be five public budget forums this year. One was held in Wheaton and there are four coming up over the next month, with the next one scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21, at the Bethesda-Chevy Regional Services Center. It is important for our residents and members of our business community to come to these sessions to tell me and my senior staff your priorities and how you want our future Montgomery County to look.

    We want to put together the FY21 budget, and all future budgets, reflecting the true needs and visions of our people—not just of budget managers. If you do not use the opportunity to speak up, it makes it harder for us to design the direction ahead. All are welcome to attend and you do not need to sign up in advance to speak.

    One of the important things you will hear me talk about at these sessions, and throughout the budget process, is the need to have a two-year budget cycle. A two-year cycle will enable the County’s elected officials, directors and staff more time to implement programs because they will spend less time at budget worksessions and working to annually juggle numbers. The two-year cycle also will give community members more confidence in knowing where programs are headed, and that those programs have funding stability. Community organization members and nonprofit leaders should spend more time devoted to their programs and less time being forced to annually defend budgets.

    Some of the facts and figures involved in the upcoming budget can be viewed here.

    I hope this year will be the true start of a new way of governing our great County—and I hope you will come to a budget forum and help make a difference.


    Upcoming Fiscal Year 2021 Operating Budget Forums:
    • Monday, Oct 21. 7 - 8:30 p.m. Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda.
    • Wednesday, Oct 30. 7 - 8:30 p.m. Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place, Silver Spring.
    • Thursday, Nov 7. 7 - 8:30 p.m. BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown.
    • Wednesday, Nov 13. 7 - 8:30 p.m. Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center, 3300 Briggs Chaney Road, Silver Spring.

    The Loss of Police Officer Thomas J. Bomba

    The County continues to mourn the death of Officer Bomba. This situation shines the light on how stressful law enforcement can be, and we must find ways to better support the men and women who have pledged to protect us. While we all experience stress in our lives, it is difficult to imagine what law enforcement officers are going through on a daily basis. We offer our heartfelt sympathy to Officer Bomba’s family, his friends, the Montgomery County Police Department, and our entire public safety workforce.

    Montgomery County Continues Activities to Celebrate October as ‘Energy Action Month’

    October is Energy Action Month and Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will be out in the community well into November trying to protect and improve the environment and help residents lower their energy costs.

    Events coming up include “LEDs and Libations” at which the County’s Department of Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) will help distribute energy-efficient light bulbs. The next event will be from 4-7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Clarksburg Liquor Store at 12051 Chestnut Branch Way in Clarksburg.

    DEP is hosting and supporting dozens of Energy Action Month events throughout October, including the following:

    On Wednesday, Oct. 23, from 8-11 a.m. Silver Spring Civic Building in Silver Spring, join Montgomery County DEP and the Montgomery County Green Bank for a hands-on event for commercial and multi-family building owners and property managers. DEP also will be sponsoring four “Energy Roadshows” in conjunction with Energy Action Month.

    Department of Environmental Protection Director Adam Ortiz is offering these helpful energy-saving tips.

    For more information on Energy Action Month, click here.

    First ‘Protected Intersection’ in Region Connecting Silver Spring Bike Network Dedicated

    Montgomery County Marc Elrich, who has made protecting pedestrians and bicyclists a priority, and County Councilmembers Tom Hucker and Hans Riemer, on Oct. 7, in Downtown Silver Spring joined the dedication of the first “protected intersection” in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The intersection connects a new half-mile “cycletrack” completed by the County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) with a previously completed section to form a 1.2-mile bikeway that protects cyclists from vehicles. The bikeway will connect directly to the Paul Sarbanes Silver Spring Transit Center.

    Cycletracks provide physical separation between motor vehicles and bicycles and a protected intersection continues that protection through the intersection. The project also includes the first bicycle traffic signal in Maryland, where the project crosses at Colesville Road.

    The ribbon cutting for the project took place at the intersection at Spring Street and Second Avenue in Silver Spring.

    There are about three dozen protected intersections in the U.S., with the nearest ones to the Washington area being in Atlanta and Boston.

    More details about the project, including photos and graphics, are available at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dot-dte/projects/secondave/index.html.

    Free Flu Shots Available from Montgomery County

    Montgomery County health officials have announced that the annual flu vaccination campaign will provide free flu shots to residents from 4:30-7p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21, and on Monday, Nov. 18, at the Universities at Shady Grove, Building II at 9630 Gudelsky Drive in Rockville.

    Free flu shots also will be for healthy, school aged children (ages 3 to 18) from 1:30-4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov.12, at Kennedy High School (1901 Randolph Road in Silver Spring); Northwest High School (13501 Richter Farm Road in Germantown) and Rockville High School (2100 Baltimore Road in Rockville). Those shots will be available by appointment only. Schedule appointments on the County’s website at montgomerycountymd.gov/Flu. Appointments can also be made by calling 311.

    The County urges residents to get a flu vaccination because it is the best way to protect against illness during flu season. Seasonal flu will also be circulating in the fall and winter and can cause serious illness.

    More information about the County’s flu vaccine program is available at here.

    Push for Board of Elections to Reconsider White Oak Recreation Center Early Voting Decision

    Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich recently was joined by State Senator Susan Lee (D-16); State Delegates Lorig Charkoudian (D-20) and Eric Luedtke (D-14); County Councilmembers Tom Hucker and Will Jawando; and several other voting advocates and community members in a news conference to highlight the need for a 12th early-voting site in the County. The speakers affirmed voting is a fundamental right of a democracy. They also made the point that a 12th site would go a long way toward ensuring people are able to exercise that right. 

    The Board of Elections then decided to add another early-voting site, but it has not yet been determined where it will be.

    The East County has high voter turnout and, consequently, long wait times at the polls.

    MCDOT Bike Donation Day is Friday, Oct. 18

    Have a bicycle that is not being used or some bike parts or accessories that are no longer needed? On Friday, Oct. 18, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) will sponsor its annual bike collection during this year’s Community Service Month celebration, making sure that someone in need will benefit from those donations.

    Bicycles and bicycle parts can be brought from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. to the outside area adjacent to the Montgomery County Council Office Building parking garage at the corner of East Jefferson and Monroe Streets in Rockville.

    Information about MCDOT’s Community Service Day is available online.

    County Executive’s Local Business Preference Program Moving Ahead

    A program that would give local businesses preference in seeking County contracts is moving ahead. County Executive Marc Elrich’s proposal will be the subject of a worksession tentatively scheduled for 2 p.m. on Dec. 15 before the County Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee.

    Bill 25-19 would require a 10 percent price preference for a local business bidding on a contract or submitting a proposal under a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a contract awarded by the County.

    The legislation seeks to increase the number of local businesses that are awarded County contracts. If enacted, during the seal bid process, the submitted bid of a local business would have its bid price reduce by a factor of 10 percent for the purposes of evaluation and award only.

    More about proposed Bill 25-19 can be viewed here.

    Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services Wins National Award for Enforcement Program

    Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services has been recognized with the national Best Practices Award for its Montgomery County Safety Alliance Program by StateWays, a trade magazine.

    An enforcement initiative, the Montgomery County Safety Alliance Network Team hosts quarterly meetings to network and share code compliance regulation information. The team disseminates this information to licensed establishments through site visits, leaving written recommendations for code compliance.

    Originally developed from a model derived from the Responsible Hospitality Institute, the Safety Alliance Network team was revamped this past year to address community issues regarding businesses and events licensed to sell or serve alcohol.

    Learn more about the program and the award here.

    County Public Libraries Participating in 5th Annual Maryland STEM Festival

    Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) are participating in the fifth Maryland STEM Festival taking place through Nov. 10. The Festival is a statewide celebration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

    MCPL’s 21 branches will offer more than 25 free, exciting STEM programs for kids and adults throughout the month-long Festival.

    More information about the Maryland STEM Festival is available on the MCPL website.

    Business Connect to Expand to East County and Kick Off Economic Development Week

    Montgomery County’s Business Connect program is expanding to East County on Monday, Oct. 21. This will help kick off Economic Development Week from Oct. 20-26.

    County Executive Marc Elrich launched the new program earlier this year in Upcounty and Silver Spring. The Business Connect program provides classes, counseling and connections to businesses where they are located. The goal is to expand the program to all five of the County’s regional areas.

    Visit the Montgomery County Business Portal and search Business Connect on the calendar for a list of upcoming Business Connect events.

    Officials to be Featured Guests at MCM Small Business Network Session on Thursday, Oct. 17

    Jerome Fletcher, a Montgomery County assistant chief administrative officer, and Ash Shetty, the director of the County’s Office of Procurement, will be the featured guests for Montgomery Community Media’s October Small Business Network (SBN) session from 8 to 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17. The event will take place at the MCM studios located at 7548 Standish Place in Rockville.

    The main topic for October’s session is “Strategies for Making Montgomery County a Great Place for Business.”

    The series of monthly morning sessions, facilitated by Kelly Leonard, addresses topics of interest to small business owners in Montgomery County.

    More information about the event is available here.

    Floating Pumpkin Patch Premieres at the Pool on Sunday, Oct. 27

    Montgomery County Recreation is hosting its first ever Floating Pumpkin Patch from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Oct. 27, for ages 2-12, at the Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center.

    Participants will search for their favorite pumpkin in the swimming pool, and then decorate the pumpkin or take it home to carve. The cost is $5 for County residents.

    Register for this modern twist on a Halloween tradition at ActiveMONTGOMERY.org, activity 75214.

    Alcohol Beverage Services Launches Annual Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Lotteries

    Montgomery County’s Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) has kicked off the fall season with its annual Buffalo Trace Antique Collection lottery—but with a slight modification from past years.

    For the first time, a separate licensee lottery will be open to Montgomery County alcohol license-holders that are authorized to sell spirits on their premises. The licensee lottery will run at the same time as the resident lottery and will boost the availability of allocated items available by the glass in the County.

    The Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (BTAC) lotteries are free to enter and are only open to Montgomery County residents and ABS license-holders, depending on the category. All ABS lotteries are designed as random-number drawings that provide an opportunity to purchase highly sought after, rare spirits. Entrants must be 21 years old to qualify for the lottery and to purchase alcohol. For details on how to enter, visit the ABS website.

    Registration for the BTAC lotteries will be open through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20. After the lotteries close, random drawings will be conducted and winning numbers will be posted online by Monday, Oct. 28.

    More details on how to enter are available from the ABS website.

    Gaithersburg Book Festival Moves to Bohrer Park in 2020

    The City of Gaithersburg has announced that the 11th Annual Gaithersburg Book Festival—the County’s largest book event—will relocate in 2020 to Bohrer Park at Summit Hall Farm at 506 S. Frederick Ave. in Gaithersburg. The new location will be used for at least the next two years as a result of planned construction in Olde Towne Gaithersburg that will impact portions of the existing festival grounds.

    The 2020 festival will take place on Saturday, May 16, and will again bring more than 100 award-winning and best-selling authors to Gaithersburg, including fashion bloggers Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez, The New Yorker’s Mary Norris and Washington Post humor columnist Gene Weingarten.

    The festival also will include writing workshops for children, teens and adults, new and used book sales, exhibitors, entertainment and food. Also returning will be the Children’s Village, featuring activities and story time.

    More information on the 2020 festival can be found on the GBF website.