February 14, 2020

County Executive Elrich, State and County Leaders Say They Are Committed to Building a 21st Century Economy at Launch of Business Connect in Bethesda

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich was joined by local and state officials for the official launch of Business Connect at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center. Elrich said he is focused on building a 21st century economy that will help the County maintain its leadership position in the State, while being more competitive in the Washington D.C. metropolitan region.
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich today told a group of County and business leaders that he is focused on building a 21st century economy that will help the County maintain its leadership position in the State, while being more competitive in the Washington D.C. metropolitan region. 
At the launch of Business Connect at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, Elrich welcomed new Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) President and CEO Ben Wu.
“Ben was the right choice for this position,” said Elrich. “We need somebody who is focused on economic development and I think we have got that now. Our priorities are to give Montgomery County a 21st century economy and we need a 21st century government, which is why we are opening Business Connect hubs around the County. We want to make sure our small businesses have the opportunity to start and grow in Montgomery County. Business Connect provides them with access to resources, training, and programs that help strengthen the small business community.”
Elrich also touted the number of entrepreneurs in Montgomery County.
“We have more entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, than anywhere else in the region,” Elrich said. “That is a little-known fact that the people should be aware of. In fact, the income of Montgomery entrepreneurs is twice the regional average.  That’s why we want more entrepreneurs to come here and grow their businesses.”
Elrich was joined by Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz, Wu, County Council President Sidney Katz, County Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz, Andrew Friedson, Hans Riemer and Will Jawando, Visit Montgomery CEO and President Kelly Groff,  Rockville Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Ed Harrington, Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Andy Stern and the County’s business resource partners for the official launch of Business Connect in Bethesda. All of the leaders indicated that economic and business development is a top priority for Montgomery County and the State.
The Business Connect program is an initiative designed to grow and nurture small businesses in the County. The program, launched in 2019, offers classes, counseling, and connections for businesses ​in the communities where they are located. Services are now available in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase regional area as well as East County, Silver Spring and Upcounty and plans are in the works to expand to the Mid-County regional services area. From May 2019 to Jan. 2020, Business Connect has offered 56 classes, 637 hours of counseling, and 791 connections for businesses to County resources.
The addition of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase regional area to the Business Connect program will help the County grow more small businesses in an area that is going through a development renaissance led by the future Purple Line and new Marriott headquarters.
Both Elrich and Wu described the County as the economic engine of the State, noting the County’s gross domestic product (GDP) represented 25 percent of the state’s GDP in 2018. The County is home to more than 40 companies on Inc. Magazine’s 2019 Inc. 5000: The Most Successful Companies in America, and three of those companies are in the top 100.
Wu, who recently joined the MCEDC after serving as deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce, introduced the new members of his team and emphasized the level of experience and expertise that each of them bring to Montgomery County.  Wu outlines the key areas MCEDC would be working are opportunity zones, bio-tech, building a tech workforce and more.
“I’m pleased to join with our business community, County and State officials to declare that Montgomery County is fully committed to growing the economy and creating opportunities for our residents and workforce,” said Wu. “MCEDC is taking a lead role in keeping companies here and helping new County entities start and grow—from cutting edge gene therapy to fast-growing business services. We are working closely with our partners in education, the private sector and all levels of government to ensure Montgomery County remains a strong economic engine for our State.”
Schulz applauded the County’s efforts to be more business friendly and expressed how important it is for the State to work with local jurisdictions so that all businesses feel that the government is working with them.
“Any way that government can streamline its processes and services can help Maryland companies reduce the cost of doing business and spend more time focusing on their customers,” said Schulz. “Initiatives like the ones being implemented by Montgomery County Government, as well as the state’s Maryland Business Express and Regional Resources Teams, promote inter-agency cooperation that benefits our business community."   Katz provided an update on the 4Business initiative, which has included six listening sessions, an online survey, and two charrettes. Over 450 people have provided input and deploying the Business Connect program strategically around the County is a direct result of the 4Business initiative.
“County Executive Elrich and I launched the 4Business initiative because we want businesses to locate, grow and prosper in Montgomery County,” said Katz. “We understand to build the economy of the future, our policies and systems must reflect business expectations of today and well into the future.  I believe that we are creating a roadmap for Montgomery County that will ensure we continue to be the economic engine, not just for the State of Maryland, but for the Washington Metropolitan Region.”

February 12, 2020

Montgomery County Police Unveil Community Opioid Prevention Trailer

County Police have officially unveiled the Community Opioid Prevention Education (COPE) Trailer. The new trailer can help loved ones identify red flags typically associated with drug abuse.

The inside of the trailer is built to resemble a bedroom and bathroom that you would typically see in homes in the County. The trailer has items that will be considered minor (yellow) and major (red) indicators that the person living in the bedroom may have a problem with opioids or other controlled dangerous substances.

A tour guide will point out the items and explain what they are, how they are used, and why they are concerning. There will be examples of different types of controlled dangerous substances such as heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and marijuana. At the conclusion of the trailer tour, participants can ask questions and get information about the County programs that assist with addiction and other drug-related illnesses.

The COPE Trailer, part of the County’s Police Department’s Community Engagement Division, which will travel to community events throughout the County. COPE is a partnership with the Opioid Intervention Team that consists of participants from the County’s Police Department, Sheriff’s Office, Fire & Rescue Services, Public Schools (MCPS) and Department of Health and Human Services.

An MCPS grant, with additional funding by the Montgomery County Police Foundation, funded the trailer purchase.

This video provides more information and gives a look inside.

Small Business Assistance Program Surpasses $1 Million Distributed in Helping Wheaton Businesses

Wheaton revitalization project
Montgomery County’s Small Business Assistance Program, which was created to provide technical and financial assistance to qualified Downtown Wheaton businesses during the three-year Wheaton Revitalization construction project, reached another milestone recently as it has distributed $1,022,287 to 23 businesses since the inception of the program. An additional $2,572 is approved for disbursement to two businesses in the near future.

More than 90 businesses in the “Wheaton Triangle” area surround a future, 14-story office building and an adjacent town square. Most have remained open during construction that began in June 2017. Those impacted by the construction have had the opportunity to apply for this innovative form of help from the County to stabilize their businesses. The building will be owned by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), which is relocating from Downtown Silver Spring. The additional office tenants will be County Government departments.

The project, which is overseen by the County’s Department of Transportation, is 90 percent complete and is on schedule to be close to completion in May 2020. Construction of the town square is 75 percent complete and construction of the amphitheater terracing has started.

The main occupant of the new building will be the relocated M-NCPPC. The 308,000 square-foot building seeks LEED platinum certification. Several departments including Permitting Services, Environmental Protection, Health and Human Services, Recreation and Community Use of Public Facilities will call the new facility home. In addition, relocating to the new building will be the Wheaton Urban District and the Mid-County Regional Services office.

More information about the Small Business Assistance Program and the Wheaton Revitalization Project is available at here.

Montgomery County Presidential Sightings

Although some hold that the designation of Presidents Day is a celebration of George Washington’s birthday, many consider the day time to honor all U.S. presidents. Regardless, the holiday gives time to pause and reflect on our history and the impacts of our distinguished leaders.

Many presidents have visited Montgomery County throughout history. Here are some snippets of Montgomery County presidential visits:
  • Many locals call the Town of Brookville the “U.S. Capital for a Day” because President James Madison and his wife Dolley stayed in Brookville after the British troops attacked the city and set fire to the White House in 1812.
  • President John Quincy Adams enjoyed skinny-dipping in the Potomac River, according to reports. After a long day, President Adams is said to have frequently walked several miles to enjoy an evening bath in the river. While it is unclear as to whether Adams swam from the Montgomery County shores, imagine hiking aside the Potomac and coming upon the president’s clothes hanging along the riverbank.
  • According to a Bethesda Beat article, President’s Abraham Lincoln visited Rockville in 1861, which was pivotal in keeping Maryland in the Union.
  • Montgomery County is home to a hospital, the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center located in Bethesda, that has served, treated and cared for every president of the United States and their families since 1942. The Base Realignment and Closure Act merged Walter Reed with the National Naval Medical Center in 2005. The two historic, facilities became America’s first national military medical center to provide world-class medical care for injured and ill Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, their families, and retirees.
  • Sadly, President John F. Kennedy’s body was autopsied at what was then called Bethesda Naval Hospital. The facility was chosen by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy because of the presidents’ service in the Navy.
  • In 1972 Richard Nixon visited Alabama’s Governor George Wallace at Holy Cross Hospital after Wallace was shot during a campaign event in Laurel.
  • Holiday Park, one of Montgomery County Recreation’s Senior Centers, has been the site of two presidential announcements:
  • President Bill Clinton spoke about his proposed Patient Bill of Rights and officially signed the presidential directive at the same visit. Vice President Al Gore accompanied the president on this visit.
  • President Barack Obama discussed the Affordable Care Act, the week that it was first proposed, at a national tele-town meeting held at Montgomery County Recreation’s Holiday Park Senior Center.
  • President Obama was the assistant coach for his youngest daughter, Sasha’s, basketball team, which played in Montgomery County Recreation’s youth basketball league at the Jane Lawton Community Center. She played in the league for two years. Vice President Joe Biden’s granddaughter also played on the team and it was always a presidential Saturday morning when the President, Vice President, and First Lady Michelle Obama came out to cheer on the young hoop-shooting athletes.
Thanks to Ben Miller, Blair High School graduate and current sophomore at the University of Chicago, and Councilmember Gabe Albornoz for contributions to this story.

February is Library Lovers Month!

February is Library Lovers Month, and Montgomery County Libraries’ and Friends of the Library Montgomery County chapters are hosting special events and activities to showcase the value of libraries in our communities. Visit the calendar of events to see all of the free programs and activities offered at branches throughout the County.

How about this good news for library cardholders who love free access to ebooks? Montgomery County Public Libraries now has its own independent Overdrive ebook collection. This collection reflects the interests of County residents and a system that is more responsive to the user’s requests and needs. This includes greater functionality within the OverDrive app, shorter hold times, and more flexibility in services. To learn more, visit the library website.

Spring Into Fun with Montgomery County Recreation

Montgomery County Recreation (MCR) did not wait for Punxsutawney Phil to call for early spring; they were way ahead of the game in planning spring activities that are fun for the whole family.

Did you know that:
  • Pickleball is not played with a pickle; it is a racquet sport and MCR offers multiple Pickleball programs and leagues.
  • You can ride a stationary bike in the pool.
  • You can earn an internationally recognized scuba diver certification card in a scuba diving class offered by MCR.
To learn more about what is happening this spring, check out the spring issue of the Montgomery County Guide. You will find a wide variety of classes and programs designed to help participants stay active and have fun. There are offerings in aquatics, sports, therapeutic recreation services and active adult senior programming. Registration for programs and classes is underway.

Registration is available in one of four ways: online; by mail; in person at the Montgomery County Recreation Administrative Offices located at 4010 Randolph Road in Silver Spring; and by fax to 240-777-6818.

Print copies of the guide are available at recreation, aquatic and senior centers.

For online registration and to view the Guide online, visit www.mocorec.com/guide. For additional information, call Montgomery County Recreation at 240-777-6840.

Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services Whiskey Rocks Event Sets Record

Montgomery County's Alcohol Beverage Sales set a new one-day, single-store sales record of $196,250 at its Whiskey Rocks event on Friday, Jan. 17, at the Clarksburg Village Liquor and Wine Store.

The one-day event included limited release products available for purchase on a first-come, first-serve basis. Whiskey enthusiasts began lining up early – with the first customer arriving at 10 a.m. the day before the event. Hundreds of people were in line when the store opened. County Executive Marc Elrich and ABS Director Bob Dorfman greeted customers and employees at the store.

Throughout the day, the Whiskey Rocks celebration featured a combination of timed product releases, tastings, engravings, barrel picks, bottle signings and seminars.

The previous record of $126,226 in Whiskey Rocks net sales was set in June 2019 at the Burtonsville ABS store.

Generating approximately $35 million in profits annually, ABS profits are used to both pay off County debt, and a large portion is deposited in the Montgomery County General Fund to pay for services that tax dollars would otherwise fund.

Nominate Outstanding Volunteers for County’s Highest Award for Service

Nominations have opened for the Montgomery Serves Awards, Montgomery County's highest honor for volunteer service. This prestigious annual awards program, coordinated by the Montgomery County Volunteer Center, recognizes volunteer efforts in the following categories:
To nominate deserving volunteers, complete the appropriate online nomination forms by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28.

Award recipients will be honored at a gala ceremony on Monday, April 27, at Imagination Stage in Bethesda.

Few Tickets Remain for the Upcoming Civil Rights Educational Freedom Experience

The Maryland Civil Rights Educational Freedom Experience offers the opportunity to retrace the Freedom Trail. Learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Greensboro Sit-ins, Voting Rights and other significant events of the American Civil Rights Movement as you travel on a deluxe motorcoach. Other sites visited will include the Lorraine Motel, Central High School, the home of Medgar Evers and the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

Register now for this nine-day trip, which takes place April 18 through 26. The registration deadline is Saturday, March 15. More information is available at the Office of Human Rights website.

February 3, 2020

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich Names Wade Holland as New Coordinator of County’s Vision Zero Program and Presents 2020 Plan

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich named Wade Holland as the new full-time coordinator of the County’s Vision Zero program. At the same time, Elrich addressed the next steps to be implemented to keep pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers safer.

The Vision Zero program is dedicated to eliminating traffic-related fatalities and severe injuries by 2030.

Holland, employed with the County’s CountyStat Office for the past six years, has focused on public safety and transportation issues. For the past three years, he has served as the part-time coordinator of the County’s Vision Zero Steering Committee. He holds a Master of Public Policy Degree from American University, with a specialty in advanced policy analysis.

The Vision Zero Steering Committee, consisting of representatives from a variety of County departments and agencies, has created and implemented the 2020 Vision Zero Action Plan. The plan was built with input from key Vision Zero departments to continue implementing roadway improvements and coordinate education and enforcement campaigns.

Learn more about Vision Zero Action Plan.

Update on the Coronavirus Virus

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Outbreak is a constantly evolving situation; and Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services, working with the Maryland Department of Health, will provide updates as they become available.

The updates can be found on a County-developed informational webpage.

Montgomery County Recreation Announces New Senior Programs and Services at Wheaton Library and Community Recreation Center

The seventh Montgomery County Senior Center is now open at the Wheaton Library and Community Recreation Center complex, located at 11701 Georgia Avenue. Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich toured the senior center on Friday, Jan. 24 and noted the importance of providing opportunities for the County’s growing 55-plus population to stay active and engaged.

The Center provides opportunities for community members 55 years or older to participate in recreational, educational, and cultural activities. The facility hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

In addition to Wheaton, the County’s senior centers include Damascus, Holiday Park, Long Branch, Margaret Schweinhaut, North Potomac and White Oak. The centers offer a variety of activities including travel programs, health and wellness programs and services, a weekday lunch program, recreation programs, information and referral assistance, volunteer opportunities and exercise and fitness facilities.

More information is available by visiting the MoCoRec website.

Marc Elrich and Other County Executives Fight for Increased Funds for School Construction

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich voiced his support for increased state funding for school construction in a standing-room-only session in Annapolis. Elrich testified in front of the Maryland General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee in support of House Bill (HB) 1: Built to Learn Act of 2020. (HB1) on Thursday, Jan. 24. Other local county executives included Howard County
Photo credit: Danielle E. Gaines, Maryland Matters.org
Executive Calvin Ball and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.

Montgomery County is the 14th-largest school district in the nation, with more than 165,000 students. The public-school system has 206 schools, one career and technology school, five special schools and one alternative program. Many of the County schools are substantially overutilized with infrastructure that extends past its life cycle. The state funds will provide necessary capital improvements to provide for a proper learning environment.

Census Bureau is Hiring

The 2020 Census will start in early March and the Census Bureau is hiring. Enumerator and supervisor positions are available; there are part-time and full-time opportunities. The pay starts at $29.50 hourly. A background check and training are employment requirements.

Spanish-speaking applicants are encouraged to apply. There is specific demand in the areas of Rockville, Germantown, Gaithersburg and Silver Spring. If you already applied for a position, the Census Bureau is calling applicants for telephone interviews and instructions on fingerprinting.

It is important that applicants answer their phones for that interview as the Census Bureau is not leaving a message to request a call back. You can follow up on your job application on the dashboard on your Census application account or call 240-382-6277.

Learn more or apply online on the 2020 Census Jobs page or visit montgomerycountymd.gov/census.

Summer Will Be Here Before You Know It; When School is Out Montgomery County Recreation Is All In

It is time to start planning for summer. Montgomery County Recreation has hundreds of camps to keep kids active and engaged all summer long.

Registration is now underway for Montgomery County Recreation and Montgomery Parks summer camps. View the Montgomery County Summer Camps Guide online

Montgomery County Recreation provides hundreds of affordable, quality summer camp programs at convenient locations throughout the County. Parents are encouraged to register now as many of the programs fill quickly.

Holiday Schedule for Presidents Day Holiday, Monday, Feb. 17

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for the Presidents Day Holiday, Monday, Feb. 17:
  • County Offices – closed.
  • Libraries – closed.
  • Alcohol Beverage Services – all stores open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Recreation – aquatics programs and facilities open.  Recreation centers, senior centers and administrative are closed.
  • Montgomery Parks - visit www.MontgomeryParks.org.
  • Ride On – will run a modified holiday schedule.
  • Ride On Flex – no service on holidays.
  • Metrorail and Metrobus – Information available at www.wmata.com.
  • TRiPS Commuter Store at Silver Spring Transit Center – will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store – closed.
  • County-provided refuse/recycling pickup – County-provided trash and recycling will not be collected. After the holiday, county-provided recycling and trash collection will slide one day, with the last collection Saturday, Feb. 22.
  • Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station – open normal hours.
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free.
  • State offices and courts – closed.

County Executive Marc Elrich Speaks Up for Equitable, Renewable Energy Legislation

County Executive Marc Elrich participated in the Community Choice Energy Act Introduction Press Conference held in Annapolis on Wednesday, Jan. 29. Delegate Lorig Charkoudian and Senator Pam Beidle sponsors of the Community Choice Energy Act (CCE), led the event.

Additional attendees included: Reverend Kobi Little, Maryland State Conference of the NAACP; Marceline White, Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition; Lily Hawkins, Maryland Organizer, Food & Water Watch; and other policy experts and concerned residents.

Allowing CCE programs in Maryland could give communities local control over their energy supply, enabling clean energy initiatives that have local benefits. Community Choice Energy will also drive energy equity, as programs can negotiate lower rates for residents. This policy would move Maryland closer to the goal of 100 percent clean and renewable energy, and benefit working families because it will cut monthly energy bills

Nine African American War Heroes To Be Honored During Commission on Veterans Affairs Black History Month Tribute

The Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs will honor nine County military veterans with detailed tributes displayed throughout February at Buffalo Soldiers Great Hall at the Silver Spring Civic Building. The Black History Month display is free to view any time the Civic Building is open to the public.

The Silver Spring Civic Building is located at One Veterans Place in Downtown Silver Spring. The main room of the building was dedicated in 2018 as Buffalo Soldiers Great Hall to pay tribute to the Buffalo Soldiers unit that was formed by Congressional legislation in the 1860s that allowed African Americans to enlist in the United States military.

The County veterans featured in the tribute of photos, background information and details of accomplishments during their military careers and afterward include John Henry Chaney, Justin Davis, Jeremiah Floyd, Gloria Gardner, Elwood Gray, Arthur Holmes, Jr., Isiah Leggett, Vernon Ricks and William Smith.

As part of the Silver Spring celebration of Black History Month, SPARKLE (Senior Programs Aimed at Re-Kindling Lifetime Engagement), which is a collaboration of Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. and the Silver Spring Village, will sponsor a talk with Brigadier General Charles McGee at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at the Buffalo Soldiers Great Hall. Brigadier General McGee, who turned 100 in December, is the oldest living member of the Tuskegee Airmen. He flew 137 combat missions in World War II and went on to fly missions during the Korean War and in Vietnam.

Learn more about the Montgomery Commission on Veterans Affairs on the website.

Hundreds Participate In Montgomery County Commission for Women 40th Annual Women's Legislative Briefing

Hundreds turned out for the 40th Anniversary Women’s Legislative Briefing hosted by the Montgomery County Commission for Women. The event was held Sunday, Jan. 26 at The Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich joined U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen; Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks; Barbara Harrison, award-winning journalist; and Commissioners from the Montgomery County Commission for Women as speakers for the event.

Elrich addressed winning passage of several Maryland legislative issues important to the Commission for Women. Those included making strangulation a first-degree assault; protecting victims of human trafficking; non-disclosure of salary history; and, a family and medical leave insurance program.

The event included a reception with elected officials and the induction of Councilmember Nancy Navarro into the Women’s History Archives.

County Executive Marc Elrich and Council President Sidney Katz Talk Business and Economic Development On Small Business Network

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council President Sidney Katz recently participated in a Small Business Network panel discussion at Montgomery Community Media’s studio.

The topic focused on economic development and included discussions on the County’s efforts to be even more business friendly.

The full video is available here.

Suburban Hospital To Open New Building That Will Enhance Patient Services

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich participated in dedicating the Suburban Hospital’s North Building on Friday, Jan, 24. One of the major employers in the County, Suburban Hospital employs more than 1,800 people, and is the region’s designated trauma center.

The 300,000 square-foot expansion will open on Monday, March 2. The new building comprises 108 private patient rooms, 14 high-tech operating rooms with robotic technology, two interventional cardiovascular labs, a patient and family resource center and new visitor lounge. The North Building also includes a new Education and Conference Center and improved traffic flow and pedestrian access to the campus.

View photos from the event here.

January 23, 2020

County Executive Marc Elrich Proposes Record Funding for Affordable Housing and Highlights Accomplishments in State of the County Address

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, in his first ‘State of the County’ address, outlined his first-year accomplishments and the direction the County will take as it continues to move forward.

Elrich underscored that affordable housing, equitableness, and economic development are top priorities that he will address in the upcoming year. He unveiled his proposal to remedy the County’s lack of affordable housing with a record spending initiative.  

County Executive Marc Elrich Releases Recommended Fiscal Years 2021-26 Capital Improvements Program

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich introduced his first recommended $4.23 billion Fiscal Years 2021-26 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) and FY21 Capital budget to address the County’s major needs over the next six years.

Despite constrained resources, Elrich’s proposed CIP program includes significant investments in public schools, Montgomery College, transportation, pedestrian safety, economic development, affordable housing and climate change initiatives.

The recommended CIP for all County agencies (excluding the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission) represents a decrease of $141.9 million (3.2 percent) from the FY19-24 amended CIP.

The recommended CIP includes $1.71 billion over the six-year period for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), which represents 94.3 percent of the school system’s request. MCPS represents the recommended CIP’s largest expenditure category and Elrich’s highest priority with 40.5 percent of the total CIP.

The CIP includes $152 million to preserve and increase affording housing options, including a record $132 million over the next six years for the Affordable Housing Acquisition and Preservation project. A new Housing Opportunity Fund will proactively assist affordable housing deals earlier in the financing process.

More details about the recommended Fiscal Years 2021-26 CIP is available here.

First-ever Montgomery County Government Employee Survey Indicates High Levels of Job Satisfaction and Key Areas for Improvement

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich is improving government operations and believes it is important to hear directly from employees about what works well and what needs to change.

To gain a better understanding of the workforce, County employees were encouraged to participate in a comprehensive survey that was opened from Sept. 18 to Oct. 21, 2019.

The results of the survey, which was a cooperative effort with the County’s three labor unions—the Montgomery County Government Employees Organization, International Association of Firefighters and Fraternal Order of Police, are now available.

Approximately 69 percent of the County’s more than 10,000 employees completed the survey. Eighty-seven percent of the respondents indicated that Montgomery County is a great place to work; 84 percent say they understand the vision, goals and priorities of County Government; and 82 percent believe they are provided with the necessary tools (supplies, software, equipment, etc.) to perform their work overall.

A summary of the findings is available in the press release. The full 2019 Montgomery County Government Employee Survey Organization-Wide Report is available here.

Montgomery County Recreation's Summer Camp Fair Set for Jan. 25

Montgomery County Recreation is hosting a free Summer Camp Fair from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Wheaton Community Recreation Center located at 11701 Georgia Avenue.

At the Summer Camp Fair, you can meet one-on-one with camp staff and instructors, ask questions, participate in family-friendly activities and demonstrations, and, of course, register the kids for camp. Information on financial aid will be available.

T-Rec, the Recreation mascot, will greet visitors, and there will be raffles and giveaways.

Montgomery County Recreation provides hundreds of affordable, quality summer camp programs at convenient locations throughout the County. Parents are encouraged to plan early for the summer as many camps fill quickly.

Registration for summer camps is available at ActiveMONTGOMERY.org.

For more information, call Montgomery County Recreation at 240-777-6840.

‘Senior Planet Montgomery’ Technology Classes Designed to Help Those 60-and-Over Live Better in a Variety of Ways Opens Registration for Winter Classes That Begin Monday, Feb. 3

“Senior Planet Montgomery,” a free program offered through Montgomery County’s Department of Technology Services to help learners 60-and-over take advantage of classes that can improve their lives, has opened registration for its winter classes that begin on Monday, Feb. 3. The classes offer opportunities for residents to learn ways to improve their financial security and health, open a new business, improve their ability to live independently or just use the internet for better daily living.

Classes meet twice a week over the course of five- or 10-week periods, depending on the course. The program, now in its fourth year, offers course instruction, books and devices to use in class at no charge to participants.

Registration for a particular course can be done by directly contacting the site of the class.

The list of courses for the winter session of Senior Planet Montgomery, the respective sites and registration information is as follows (with course descriptions after the schedules):

Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center: 11002 Veirs Mill Road., Ste 506, Wheaton. 240-777-4940.
  • Computer Essentials (PC): Feb. 3-March 9 (Mondays and Wednesdays). 10-11:15 a.m.
  • Introducci√≥n de la cultura digital para computadora (PC): Feb. 3-March 9 (Mondays and Wednesdays). 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.
White Oak Community Recreation Center: 1700 April Lane., Silver Spring. 240-777-6944.
Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center: 1000 Forest Glen Rd., Silver Spring. 240-777-8085.
Holiday Park Senior Center: 3950 Ferrara Dr., Silver Spring. 240-777-4999.
  • iPad Essentials (iPad): Feb. 19-March 20. (Wednesdays and Fridays). 1:30-3 p.m. [NOTE: Please bring your own Apple iPad to this course.]
North Potomac Senior Center: 13850 Travilah Road., Rockville. 240-773-4805.
In addition to multi-week courses, Senior Planet Montgomery offers lectures on popular technology topics throughout the County. Visit the Senior Planet website to learn more about Senior Planet or sign-up to receive the newsletter.

County Executive Marc Elrich Honors the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Attending Events Across the County

County Executive Marc Elrich had a busy Martin Luther King Day. Elrich began the morning at the 43 Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship Breakfast.

MLK Breakfast

Next, he volunteered along with hundreds of other County residents in the om the County’s Annual MLK Day of Service event.

MLK Work Project

He closed his day honoring the legacy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Children of the Dream: 2020 Martin Luther King Day Tribute ceremony held at the Music Center at Strathmore.

MLK at Strathmore

Watch the County Executive’s presentation at the MLK tribute:

Homeowners Urged to Use Less Salt During Winter Storms to Reduce Impact on the Environment

The overuse of road salt to combat winter weather can wreak havoc on the environment. Road salt is often used to keep our roads and walkways safe in winter but when used excessively it impacts stormwater drains, local streams and eventually the Chesapeake Bay. Additionally, the excess salt can corrode concrete and masonry, harm pets, damage surrounding plants and lawns and impact the water supply.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council President Sidney Katz encourage homeowners to use the right amount of salt to help protect our drinking water and reduce damage to our environment.

The Department of Environmental Protection offers these winter-weather tips to help homeowners effectively manage their property:
  • Shovel ice and snow early and often.
  • Use one 12-ounce cup of salt for 10 sidewalk squares or for a 20-foot driveway.
  • After storm events, sweep up excess sand and salt for reuse.
To read more about how to effectively address salt use on residential and commercial properties, visit the montgomerycountymd.gov/salt.

Free Procurement Workshop Feb. 4; Ready, Set, Grow

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and the Governor's Office of Small, Minority and Women Business Affairs invite entrepreneurs and small businesses who want to learn more about contracting opportunities with government agencies to attend a free procurement workshop. The free workshop, Ready, Set, Grow will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at the Silver Spring Civic Building located at One Veterans Place.

In addition to learning about contracting opportunities with government agencies, participants will get an overview of how small, minority, women, and veteran procurement programs work, information on what buyers are looking for right now, and what is in the pipeline. There will also be open networking sessions and opportunities to connect with a variety of resource partners who can help small businesses thrive.

More information and registration information is available here.

Montgomery County Recreation is Hiring; Job Fairs Scheduled

Looking for summer work? Montgomery County Recreation is hiring part-time seasonal employees for the 2020 summer season, and the department will host two upcoming job fairs.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 29, 3 – 7 p.m. at the Plum Gar Community Recreation located at 19561 Scenery Drive in Germantown.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 26, 5 – 8 p.m. at the Gwendolyn Coffield Community Recreation Center located at 2450 Lyttonsville Road in Silver Spring.
Available positions include lifeguards, camp counselors, camp directors and mainstream companions. Part-time/seasonal pay is competitive at $13 an hour and increases based on experience. Applicants must be at least 15 years of age. Bilingual applicants are encouraged to apply.

Applicants should bring their resumes and be prepared to discuss their experience. Applicants may attend any job fair regardless of where they are seeking work in the County.

As a condition of employment, applicants will be required to pass a criminal background investigation. The investigation will include state, federal and sex-offender background checks.

For questions about the job fairs or summer employment opportunities email: recreation.customerservice@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services Reports Strong Holiday Season; Sets All Time One-Day Retail Sales Record

Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) closed the decade with a strong holiday season and set a one-day sales record of $1,551,361 on Thanksgiving Eve, Nov. 27, across the County’s 25 retail stores.

Christmas Eve was also a strong day for alcohol sales. ABS reported $1,451,855 in sales, besting Dec. 24, 2018 sales ($1,431,916).

ABS’ retail division reported $142,002,472 in overall retail sales in calendar year 2019, a significant increase over 2018 sales ($140,781,463) and the second highest in the last five years.

With support from the county executive, ABS developed a financial plan to bring overall annual profits for the department up to $45 million. Preliminary numbers show that for the current fiscal year, which runs July 1 through June 30, overall income was up four percent just before the winter holidays.

More information about the ABS 2019 sales is available in the press release.

January 8, 2020

Montgomery County Ceremony Honors the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Montgomery County celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life through dramatic readings musical and dance performances in a special tribute from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20. The event, produced by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee and the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, will be held at the Music Center at Strathmore located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda.

Co-anchor of Fox 5 Morning and host on Good Day DC Wisdom Martin and his son will co-host this year’s tribute. A visual arts exhibit prepared by Montgomery County Public Schools students interpreting “Children of the Dream” will be displayed. There will be performances by Dem Raider Boyz Step Squad, the Akhmedova Ballet Academy, Kelvin Dukes and a special performance by Ronnie Diamond Hoard – former lead singer of the Ohio Players. Local artist Vohn Higgonbotham will lead and perform with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School and the Vast Expressions of Song Ensemble.

This family-friendly event is free and open to the public. Tickets are available the day of the celebration in the Music Center foyer beginning at 3 p.m. Seating is general admission and one ticket will be distributed per person. Seating will begin at 3:30 p.m.

For more information, visit the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights website.

Holiday Schedule for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 20

Montgomery County Government will observe the following holiday schedule for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 20:
  • County Offices – closed.
  • Libraries - closed.
  • Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) - stores open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Recreation – aquatics programs and facilities open; all other classes and programs canceled. Administrative office, senior centers and community centers are closed.
  • Montgomery Parks – visit website.
  • Ride On –Modified holiday schedule. Route information available.
  • Ride On Flex – no service on holidays.
  • Metrorail and Metrobus – information available.
  • TRiPS Commuter Store at Silver Spring Transit Center – open.
  • TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store – closed.
  • County-provided refuse/recycling pickup - County-provided trash and recycling collection will not be collected Monday, Jan. 20. After the holiday, county-provided recycling and trash collections will slide, and be one day later than normal with last collection Saturday, Jan.25.
  • Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station - entire facility closed.
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free; and
  • State offices and courts – closed.

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Serving Your Community

Join thousands of residents to honor the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by participating in the Montgomery County Volunteer Center’s annual MLK Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 20. The event is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Bethesda North Marriott and Conference Center located at 5701 Marinelli Road.

Participants can help with a wide variety of service projects suitable for volunteers of all ages. Students can earn MCPS student service learning (SSL) hours. Activities will include packaging food for the hungry, creating scarves for hospice patients, crafting Valentine’s cards for seniors and organizing coats donated for a coat drive. In addition, the event will feature a volunteer fair where you can learn about ways to serve with dozens of local nonprofits and government agencies throughout the year.

This event is free, but space is limited, and advance registration is required. Sign up here.

Additional multi-project service events are scheduled in Gaithersburg, Germantown, Olney, Rockville, Silver Spring and Bethesda. Plus, several organizations will hold special volunteer events throughout the MLK Day weekend.

Visit the Volunteer Center’s MLK Day web page for details and registration links.

County Executive Marc Elrich to Deliver State of the County Address

County Executive Marc Elrich will deliver the 2020 State of the County Address at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 15. The event will take place at the Silver Spring Civic Building located at 1 Veterans Place.

Elrich will address County residents, reflect on his first year in office and share his vision and strategic plans for continuing to move the County forward.

Those who cannot personally attend can watch on County Cable Montgomery (CCM), which is broadcast on Comcast 6/996 and RCN 6/1056 and Verizon on Channel 30. The event will also be streamed live on the County's Facebook site.

Statement from Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich Regarding Governor Hogan’s Traffic Relief Announcement for Washington Capital Region

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich released the following statement regarding Governor Hogan’s traffic relief announcement for the Washington Capital Region:

“I applaud the announcement by the State to revise the plans for I-495 and I-270. This news means that the project will move forward with local input and collaboration with our transportation staff and that the needs of local communities will be reflected in the design of this project. This changed plan puts a stronger emphasis on public transit, including a funding stream for transit projects; begins work at the American Legion bridge - which as I’ve said is the place to begin, and will be built within existing boundaries. It also includes relief for congestion north of I-370 up to Frederick.

I want to thank Comptroller Peter Franchot for working with the Governor and his Transportation Secretary-designee Greg Slater. I also want to thank State Treasurer Nancy Kopp for her support and Chair of the Council’s Transportation & Environment Committee Tom Hucker, Council President Sidney Katz, State Delegates Marc Korman, and Jared Solomon and the many other elected leaders in our County who have been working on this issue. Additional note of thanks to the many elected leaders in Prince George’s County who have joined us in our efforts. And of course, I want to thank the residents across the County who have been unrelenting in their advocacy.

Although many details remain to be worked out, the revisions represent substantial movement by MDOT toward a project that deals with major traffic congestion, is more closely aligned with Montgomery County’s master plans and has the potential to be far more environmentally responsible. I look forward to working with the Governor and his staff.”

The Maryland Board of Public Works voted to advance the transformative Traffic Relief Plan to ease traffic congestion for hundreds of thousands of commuters. Read more here.

Montgomery County Provides Information about New Rules for Accessory Dwelling Units

New information about Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) is now available. The information reflects changes in the County’s Zoning Text Amendment 19-01 that took effect on Dec. 31.

An ADU is a second dwelling that is part of an existing single-family detached home and is used as a completely independent living facility with its own provisions. An ADU may not be used as a short-term vacation rental.

To learn more about ADUs or to apply for an ADU license, visit the DHCA Licensing and Registration Class 3 Accessory Dwelling Unit webpage or call 311 (240-777-0311).

County Installs New Pedestrian Safety Light in Bethesda

Montgomery County continued its efforts to keep pedestrians safer when it activated its newest high intensity activated crosswalk (HAWK) beacon in Bethesda where Tuckerman Lane crosses the Bethesda Trolley Trail. The County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) installed the pedestrian beacon in response to community concerns about pedestrian safety.

The beacons align with the priorities of Montgomery County’s Vision Zero plan, which aims to reduce and eventually eliminate traffic-related deaths. The Tuckerman Lane beacon was installed faster than some others because existing poles and power were at the site from a replaced pedestrian warning beacon.

The newest HAWK beacon was installed following neighborhood concerns after a fatal collision involving a pedestrian occurred at Tuckerman Lane and the Bethesda Trolley Trail crossing. The location had been scheduled for an updated signal as part of MCDOT’s modified practice to install HAWK beacons in place of some existing pedestrian flashing signals. HAWK beacons provide better direction to drivers, requiring them to stop at locations where they would otherwise just use “additional caution” under the flashing signals.

Learn more about the County’s HAWK beacon program in a recent press release.

Montgomery County Recreation is Hiring

Montgomery County Recreation is hiring part-time seasonal employees to work during the 2020 summer season, and as part of the recruiting process, the department is hosting job fairs.

Available positions include lifeguards, camp counselors, camp directors and mainstream companions. Part-time/seasonal pay is $13 an hour and increases based on experience. Applicants must be at least 15 years of age. Bilingual applicants are encouraged to apply. Applicants should bring their resumes and be prepared to discuss their experience.

The job fairs are scheduled at the following locations and dates:
  • Saturday, Jan. 18, 2 to 6 p.m. at the Olney Indoor Swim Center located at 16605 Georgia Avenue.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 26, 5 to 8 p.m. at the Gwendolyn Coffield Community Recreation Center located at 2450 Lyttonsville Road in Silver Spring.
As a condition of employment, applicants are required to pass a criminal background investigation, which includes state, federal and sex offender background checks.

More information is available here.

Women’s Voices and Votes Count: Public Invited to Register for 40th Annual Women’s Legislative Briefing

The Montgomery County Commission for Women will host its 40th annual Women’s Legislative Briefing at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 26. The event will be held at The Universities at Shady Grove, Building II located at 9630 Gudelsky Drive in Rockville.

The theme will be “Women’s Voices and Votes Count.” Barbara Harrison, an award-winning journalist, will be the keynote speaker. Attendees can participate in a variety of breakout sessions addressing topics such as voter engagement, racial equity and the 2020 Census, sexual assault and domestic violence prevention, women’s health, economic justice, women in the criminal justice system, human trafficking prevention and women leaders breaking ground in their fields. Session participants will hear from members of the Maryland General Assembly, community leaders, and representatives of organizations advancing the status of women and girls. Those organizations include the Women’s Law Center of Maryland, Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Feminist Majority Foundation, and NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland.

There also will be interactive workshops for emerging leaders (students grades 6-12) that focus on civic engagement and pathways to leadership.

To learn more and pre-register, visit the event registration website.

Alcohol Beverage Services to Host Montgomery County’s Biggest Whiskey Event on Jan. 17

Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) is hosting its Whiskey Rocks celebration, the largest event of its kind in Montgomery County, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17, at the Clarksburg Village Liquor and Wine Store, located at 12051 Chestnut Branch Way, Suite 1. The daylong event attracts hundreds of whiskey lovers who want to purchase limited release and highly sought after whiskey products, including Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year, O.F.C. 1994 by Buffalo Trace, Weller Full Proof, Weller 12 Year, Orphan Barrel Rhetoric Library Pack and more.

At the Clarksburg Whiskey Rocks event, there will be a combination of timed product releases, tastings, engravings, barrel picks, bottle signings and an exclusive whiskey lunch with Maker's Mark Master Distiller Denny Potter.

Preregistration is available on the ABS website for a free seminar that will include a comparative tasting of two Montgomery County select barrels: Elijah Craig 8 Year and Elijah Craig 10 Year. In addition, there will be a blind tasting and a vote for next year’s barrel selection.

More information about this event, including the schedule for raffle drawings, tastings, and special releases, is available on the ABS website.