April 8, 2021

Message from the County Executive Marc Elrich



Dear Friends,

It is a race: the variants against the vaccines, and the opening this week of the mass vaccination site at Montgomery College’s Germantown campus is an important step in our effort to get as many people vaccinated for COVID-19 as possible. We were happy to welcome Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to tour the site on Wednesday, the day before the official opening. You can get a glimpse of the site in my weekly video.

We are excited about having a mass vaccination site because so many Montgomery County residents were having to travel out of the County to get vaccinated. This site also will be accessible for public transit users who will have a shuttle available from the Shady Grove Metro station. The State also opened a mass vax site by the Greenbelt Metro station in Prince George’s County, which will be convenient for our residents in the eastern part of the County.

Approximately 400,000 of our residents have been vaccinated, which is great news. However, even as supply of vaccines increases, we still do not have enough for everyone who is eligible. Beginning April 12, everyone 16 and older will become eligible throughout the State. In Montgomery County, about 400,000 people will be eligible, it will take time to get everyone vaccinated. But we will. As part of that effort, please preregister on our website if you have not already done so.

You may also want to watch a press briefing from earlier today where I talk more about these issues. You can view it here.

Many of our students have returned to their classrooms or will soon be returning to some in-person learning, and many are also engaging in sports. Through this, we need to do everything we can to reduce community transmission of COVID-19. The variants, which are more contagious, are here in the County. So we have to continue to be vigilant. Please maintain safe physical distance and keep wearing your masks. Also, if you think you may have been exposed—through travel, sports or otherwise—please get tested. It helps us track community transmission and reduce the spread as much as possible.

This week was Yom HaShoah--the Holocaust Memorial Day. As we fight hatred, racism and discrimination, it is essential to remember the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime. It is a time to recommit ourselves to justice for all.

On a bright note, this week the Maryland General Assembly passed important legislation to help our work to address climate change. The legislation would allow Montgomery County to implement Community Choice Energy (CCE), which gives us a chance to better control our fuel sources. This legislation authorizing implementation of CCE will still require substantial input from the State’s Public Service Commission, as well as authorization by the County Council. But it is important to begin that effort. As we all know, we are in a climate emergency. While I appreciate the work of the entire Montgomery County Delegation to the General Assembly, I especially want to thank Delegate Lorig Charkoudian and Senator Brian Feldman for their work and leadership on this legislation.

A Vision for the Future?

The Montgomery County Planning Board’s proposed revision of the General Plan that guides land use in Montgomery County is being sent to the County Council this week. Dubbed “Thrive Montgomery 2050,” the plan has been developed over the past two years and is expected to begin going through the County Council’s review process in late spring/early summer.

I have raised several concerns about the draft plan, not only about some of the proposed recommendations, but also about the Planning Board’s confusing, disjointed review process. Previously, I had asked that they slow down this process given that we are in the midst of a pandemic and there was no urgency to produce the plan.  Doing this in the midst of a pandemic has made it very difficult for the public to be engaged in these issues, which involve some major proposed changes.  However, they moved forward anyway.  Now that we have a final version from the Planning Board, the Executive Branch will begin an in-depth review and provide detailed comments prior to the Council’s review. This update to the General Plan is fundamental to the future of the County. We will do our part to work toward a common goal of preserving what is great about the County while adapting to changing priorities and needs. To read more, see my letter to the Planning Board.

As always – my appreciation to all of you for your support and your work to help our County.



Marc Elrich
County Executive

April 7, 2021

Maryland Residents 16-and Over Eligible to Receive COVID-19 Vaccinations Starting Monday, April 12; 38 Percent of County Residents Have Received At Least One Dose

All Maryland residents 16-and-over will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination at all State-operated, County-operated and privately operated vaccine clinics in the State starting Monday, April 12, by order of Governor Larry Hogan. Covered by the order is the new State-supported mass vaccination center at the Germantown campus of Montgomery County, which officially opened today, Thursday, April 8. Eligibility does not equal an immediate appointment. 

According to State statistics updated this morning, 38 percent of County residents have received at least one dose of vaccine and 21.5 percent are fully vaccinated.

Preregistration and appointments are required for all vaccination centers in the County. Preregistration for a County-operated center at https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/vaccine/#preregister. Preregister for a State vaccination center at https://onestop.md.gov/preregistration or by calling 1-855-MDGOVAX (1-855-634-6829). 

Residents are encouraged to preregister with the State and with the County—and advised to take the first vaccination appointment they are offered at any clinic. 

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich joined Governor Hogan and members of the County Council for a tour of the new Germantown site on Wednesday, April 7. As a State-supported site, the Germantown center will be available to all Marylanders. 


Free Ride-On bus shuttle service is operating from the Shady Grove Metro station to the vaccination site at Montgomery College in Germantown. The service was established by the direction of County Executive Elrich. Buses will run every 15 minutes from 8:30 a.m. until 30 minutes after the last vaccination (approximately 5 p.m.).  Pick up the shuttle on the east side of the Shady Grove Metro.  Buses will be marked “Vaccination Shuttle.” 

The Germantown site replaces the County-operated site that had been at Quince Orchard High School, which was closed as students returned to classrooms around the County. Residents who received a first dose of a vaccine at Quince Orchard, but did not yet receive a second vaccine, will get that second dose at Montgomery College. 

The County-operated vaccination site at Richard Montgomery High School also has closed. That clinic has moved to the Wheaton Library and Community Recreation Center. 

As of Thursday morning, April 8, more than 398,600 Montgomery County residents (38 percent) have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. There are more than 226,100 fully vaccinated County residents (21.5 percent). 

While the number of people being vaccinated is increasing daily, the average number of County residents with confirmed positive COVID-19 cases has also increased since 2021 low points in mid-March. COVID hospital bed-use rates are beginning to rise as well. See details on the County COVID-19 Data Dashboard. 

Residents who have received at least their first vaccination can help others by canceling their preregistration for a County-run clinic. Completing the form will remove a person from the preregistration list. 

As more residents are vaccinated, others have become more lenient about getting tested for the virus. However, it is still important to get tested because that helps health officials track the spread of COVID-19 in the community.  There are free testing clinics every week throughout the County.  Find a complete schedule of upcoming clinics at www.MoCOCOVIDTesting.org. 

Volunteers Sought to Help Support County COVID-19 Vaccination Sites


Montgomery County is seeking volunteers to support the COVID-19 vaccination sites it is operating. Qualified volunteers who are interested in helping can contact the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps. Key roles at the sites will be vaccine administration, client registration, logistics support and data entry. 

Volunteer vaccinators can be anyone with a current license as a physician, nurse (RN, NP, APRN), physician assistant, pharmacist, podiatrist, EMT, paramedic, veterinarian, dentists and dental hygienist (licensed for anesthesia).  

Non-medical volunteers are needed to assist with logistics support, data entry and client registration. No previous experience is required for these roles. 

Volunteers will receive training specific to their role at the vaccination site. 

Appropriate PPE is provided for all roles at vaccination sites.

Interested volunteers can register with the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps at https://mdresponds.health.maryland.gov/.

Questions about volunteering can be sent to Jessica Pryor at jessica.pryor@montgomerycountymd.gov.

COVID-19 Information Portal Has Statistics on the Virus Including Infections and Vaccinations Given by Zip Codes


Montgomery County’s COVID-19 Information Portal provides a variety of breakdowns on how the virus has impacted the County. The statistics are updated to reflect the most recent reports during the health crisis.     
     
Among the information available is how many positive cases have been reported in each zip code in the County. New to the dashboard is how many vaccinations have been given by zip code.

To find the recent trend in vaccinations by zip code, go to https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/data/case-counts.html#cases-zip.     

To find the trend on where vaccinations are being given by zip code, go to https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/data/case-counts.html#vaccine-zip.

Other breakdowns on the COVID-19 Information Portal include:     


Montgomery County Thanks Public Health Workers During National Public Health Week


Throughout the COVID-19 health crisis, the public health efforts in Montgomery County and communities across the United States have been in the spotlight. This week, the County joined in the celebration of National Public Health Week, which runs through Sunday.

Public health services’ programs, which are part of the County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), monitor health status and implement intervention strategies to contain or prevent disease. These intervention strategies include fighting bioterrorism and emerging diseases.

“For the last year, I have witnessed the incredible work and dedication of our public health staff and the much-needed assistance they have provided to our residents during these very difficult times,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “I think that we all have learned how vital the health department is to our community, and National Public Health Week is our time to recognize and thank the people who have worked tirelessly to protect our quality of life and make Montgomery County a healthier place for all.”

In the past year, the County’s public health services:
  • Provided more than 500,000 COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Created and shared a detailed “10-year Plan to End HIV in Montgomery County.” The plan, with a goal of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030, addresses the expansion of four key HIV response service areas: diagnosis, treatment, prevention and response to outbreaks. The plan came out of the County’s designation as a priority jurisdiction for the Federal “Ending the HIV Epidemic” initiative.
  • Received national accreditation from the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). The PHAB accreditation program is jointly supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It sets standards against which the nation’s nearly 3,000 public health departments can continuously improve the quality of services and performance.
“Unlike any time in recent history, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the work of public health professionals here and across the world,” said Travis Gayles, the County health officer and chief of public health services. “It has also shed light on the ongoing issues of health equity, which is a fundamental right, not a privilege. The most effective way to prevent the spread of disease is through public health measures. The greatest wealth one can attain is their health and well-being. The biggest threat to public health is indifference and the greatest medicine is comprised of compassion.”

The annual week of recognition is sponsored by the American Public Health Association. More information about the special week and its themes can be viewed here.

County’s 2021 Energy Summit Announces Schedule of Education Sessions; Early Bird Registration Ends Friday, April 9


Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the US Green Building Council National Capital Region have announced the preliminary schedule of the 2021 Montgomery County Energy Summit. This year’s Summit will take place virtually, due to the COVID-19 health crisis, from Tuesday, May 4, through Thursday, May 6.

Education sessions will center around the eighth annual Summit’s theme of “Resiliency, from Building to Community,” which supports the County’s ambitious goal of zero carbon emissions by 2035.

Early Bird registration for the Summit is $70 and is available through Friday, April 9. That provides access to the full Summit pass, which includes the slate of education sessions and virtual networking events. After April 9, regular registration is $85, and single-day tickets also are available.

The Summit will explore strategies, technologies and case studies focused on enhancing the resiliency of the commercial, multifamily and residential built environment. This year's Summit is a forum for the community to discuss ways to adapt and become more resilient against changes to the regional and global climate.

The 2021 Energy Summit education sessions schedule includes the following:

Tuesday, May 4:
  • Building Resilience in Montgomery County
  • Providing Hybrid Power Benefits to Commercial Buildings and Multi-family Affordable Housing
  • Electric Vehicle Charging Stations and Community Transportation Resiliency
  • Hillandale Gateway Case Study: Large Scale Mixed Use—Multi-family Passive House
  • We Have Complied with the County’s Benchmarking Law—Now What?
  • Setting the Table: Build Resilience into Integrative Process
Wednesday, May 5:
  • Upscaling Resiliency: From Buildings to the Revisioned Community
  • Moving Metro Toward Efficiency and Resiliency
  • Commissioning—It Does Not Build Your Building, But It Makes It Better!
  • Resilient Retail Shopping Center: A Near Net Zero Experience
  • Post Occupancy Verification at Unisphere—How Did We Do?
  • Passive House Pitfalls: Case Study in Multi-family Affordable Housing in West Philadelphia
Thursday, May 6:
  • Health in Resilient Housing
  • Charging Toward Battery Adoption—Knowledge is Power
  • Cultivating Resilience in Montgomery County Faith Communities
  • Natural Gas Solutions for an Energy Efficient and Resilient Montgomery County
  • Preparing for Building Energy Performance Standards in Montgomery County
In addition to the breakout education sessions, the Summit will include a keynote panel, morning plenary remarks, topical networking salons and interactive brown bag lunches. All education sessions will be submitted for continuing education credits for Green Business Certification, Inc., and the American Institute of Architects.

The event organizers are grateful for the support of our 2021 event promotional partners, which include: AIA Baltimore, AIA Potomac Valley, AIA|DC, Bethesda Green, the Capital Chapter of the International Facility Management Association, the Maryland Clean Energy Center, the Montgomery County Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, NAIOP DC|MD, Olney Chamber of Commerce, Poolesville Green, the Rockville Chamber of Commerce and the UMD Environmental Finance Center.

The Summit will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Scholarships are available for students and government professionals. To apply for a scholarship, go to https://usgbc.wufoo.com/forms/qvgu6qc0cptzev/.

To register and view the full schedule, visit the event’s website at www.MCEnergySummit.org.

Questions about the Summit can be emailed to energy@montgomerycountymd.gov. 

County’s GreenFest 2021: A Month-Long Virtual Celebration of Earth Month


Montgomery County’s annual GreenFest—a celebration of the environment—will be a month of free online and in-person events throughout April. The series of activities will include educational workshops, an environmental film festival and family friendly games and scavenger hunts.   

GreenFest is a chance for residents, businesses, nonprofits and neighbors to come together, share ideas and get involved in finding ways to make the County a cleaner, greener place. 

GreenFest partners include the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Montgomery Parks, Brookside Gardens, the County Department of Transportation, Poolesville Green, Bethesda Green, One Montgomery Green and University of Maryland’s Sea Grant Extension.  

“Greenfest epitomizes our community’s commitment to sustainable practices and eco-friendly culture,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “I encourage all residents to participate in Greenfest activities and enjoy these free, family-friendly ways to educate and empower us to do better in order to protect our planet for future generations.” 

Greenfest offers a series of educational workshops by industry experts on a variety of topics that will help resident to “green” the Earth and their home environments. GreenFest partners also will join the DC Environmental Film Festival to offer free online documentary screenings in April.  

All lectures and screenings will be held online using Zoom. After registering, a link will be emailed to 24 hours prior to the live webinar.  

The schedule of free GreenFest educational workshops will include:  
  • Aiming for Zero Waste: Compost Food Scraps in Your Backyard. Thursday, April 15. 7-8 p.m. Join the County Department of Environmental Protection for a virtual workshop on how to compost various types of food scraps in the backyard using rodent-proof compost bins. Discussion will address acceptable types of materials that can be composted, best practices to manage the composting process to prevent critters and odor and what to do with the amazing “black gold” after the materials are composted.  Register  at https://apm.activecommunities.com/montgomerycounty/Activity_Search/115144 .  
  • Become a Community Scientist in Your Own Backyard—Join the City Nature Challenge. Thursday, April 22. 7-8 p.m. The “City Nature Challenge” from April 30 to May 3 features cities around the world competing to make the most observations of nature, find the most species and engage the most people. Residents can submit photos of wildlife through the iNaturalist app and contribute to ecological studies that help scientists better understand the plants and animals of the local landscape. Lecture will detail how easy it is to participate, including how to use the iNaturalist app to submit observations. Have a smart phone with the free iNaturalist app pre-downloaded.  Registration required at .https://apm.activecommunities.com/montgomerycounty/Activity_Search/115146   
  • Creating a Planter with Native Plants. Thursday, April 29. 7-8 p.m. Lecture will highlight the benefits of using native plants to beautify gardens while helping to support local wildlife and pollinators. Participants will learn steps to create a beautiful planter using plants native to this region. One participant will win a native plant container. Register at https://apm.activecommunities.com/montgomerycounty/Activity_Search/115148   
The DC Environmental Film Festival at GreenFest will feature environmentally themed films available free to the public as part of Earth Month activities. The presentations will have virtual panel discussions with experts.  

The festival schedule includes: 

Environmental Justice and Communities of Color. Tuesday, April 20. 7-8 p.m. Series of short films will showcase the initiatives underway in minority communities to address a variety of environmental issues. The panel discussion will bring together activists and environmental experts to discuss environmental justice as it relates to communities of color. Discussion will address how climate change will impact the health and quality of life for Black and brown communities. Other issues will include the work being done in Montgomery County and beyond to engage minority communities in protecting their environments.    

The film lineup includes:  
Scheduled to be on the panel: 
  • Moderator: Tiffany Ward, chief equity officer, Montgomery County
  • Tim Paule and Nicole Lindsey, Detroit Hives  
  • Rozina Kanchwala, EcoLogic  
  • Pablo Blank, CASA of Maryland  
  • Fred Tutman, Patuxent Riverkeeper, Waterkeeper Alliance   
Register at  https://apm.activecommunities.com/montgomerycounty/Activity_Search/115149. Links to watch the films online will be emailed to participants after they register.  

The Story of Plastic. Tuesday, April 27. 7-8 p.m. Plastic pollution is everywhere, smothering watersheds, bays and oceans and poisoning communities around the world. The session will address what is being done to increase recycling and eliminate plastic waste. Join environmental leaders to discuss the efforts underway in Montgomery County and Maryland to reduce waste stream and improve the environment.   

Registration required at https://apm.activecommunities.com/montgomerycounty/Activity_Search/115153. A link to watch the film online will be emailed to participants after they register.   

Scheduled to be on the panel: 
  • Moderator: Adam Ortiz, director of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection  
  • Shane Robinson, executive director of Trash Free Maryland  
  • Lori Nicholson, community activist in Montgomery County  
  • Lorig Charkoudian, Maryland State Delegate 
Community cleanups will be held throughout April. Learn more at #MontgomeryPlogs Challenge at Greenfest. Sign up for the #MontgomeryPlogs #Challenge at  https://mcgmd.wufoo.com/forms/greenfest-plogging-challenge/  

Children’s games and activities will be scheduled throughout the Greenfest celebration.  Greenfest scavenger hunts are family friendly nature exploration events for all ages and abilities. These outdoor adventures will offer lessons about eco-friendly features in the community and at local parks.

Public Libraries Offers Free Online Workshops for Job Seekers and Entrepreneurs in April


Montgomery County Public Libraries is offering free online workshops and one-on-one sessions to assist job seekers and entrepreneurs throughout April. All workshops are free and offered virtually.

An internet connection and a device (such as a smartphone, tablet or computer) are required for participation.

The schedule of opportunities will include:
  • Throughout April: Every Monday 9:30-11:30 a.m. H.I.R.E. (Helping Individuals Reach Employment) Sessions. Sign up to meet virtually/confidentially one-on-one with a career counselor for advice and assistance with job searching.
  • Tuesday, April 13, and Thursday, April 15. 5:45-7:45 p.m. LinkedIn Boot Camp (Part I / Part II). Two-session/two-day workshop focuses on both the mechanics and strategy of using LinkedIn as a tool to conduct a successful job search. Register for Part 1 and 2:
  • Tuesday, April 13. 10-11:30 a.m. Introduction to Entrepreneurship. Workshop, in partnership with the Maryland Women’s Business Center. Covers the fundamentals of building a business and helps determine if an individual is ready to become a small business owner. Register:  https://mcpl.libnet.info/event/4778130.
  • Thursday, April 15; 1-3 p.m. How to Prepare for your Virtual Job Interview. Learn how to differentiate yourself from other candidates, be Zoom ready, package your experience, tell your story, be ready for challenging questions and feel more confident in your next interview. Register: https://mcpl.libnet.info/event/4896045.
  • Wednesday, April 21. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. How to Apply for Jobs with Montgomery County Government. Register: https://mcpl.libnet.info/event/4841626.
  • Tuesday, April 27. Noon-1:30 p.m. Career Resources for Skilled Immigrants. Representatives from Upwardly Global (UpGlo), an organization focused on helping work-authorized immigrant and refugee professionals re-enter their professional fields in the U.S., will share information on the organization, career resources for immigrant and refugee professionals and answer questions on how eligible applicants can apply for UpGlo’s free customized U.S. job search training programs. Register: https://mcpl.libnet.info/event/4983701.

County Agencies Join to Celebrate April as Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month


Montgomery County departments and cooperating agencies are joining together to celebrate April as  Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month. Throughout the month, there will be engaging programs, activities and mini-events as part of the “Shining Brighter Together” celebration.

Agencies participating in the celebration include Montgomery Parks, the Montgomery County Department of Recreation, City of Takoma Park Recreation, City of Rockville Recreation and Parks, City of Gaithersburg Parks, Recreation and Culture, ArtStream and the Montgomery County Public Library system.

Creative programs will focus on sharing positive, respectful and accurate information about autism while informing the community about the variety of resources available in the County. Montgomery Parks is offering a “Creative by Nature” program at Black Hill Nature Center and a “Sensory Sundays” program at the Agricultural History Farm Park in Derwood.

“Sensory Sundays is a fun event for youth and their families to experience hands-on learning, meet the animals at the farm, experience outdoor exhibits and explore tactile activities and crafts,” said Lisa Berray, manager of Interpretation and Visitor Services for Montgomery Parks.

The full list of activities offered are available on the Shine Brighter Together event page. Families can choose to participate in more than 20 events throughout the month. Many of the family friendly programs are virtual. However, there are several opportunities for in-person engagement and learning.

Montgomery Parks welcomes individuals with all abilities to participate in programs and activities of their choice. The department’s Program Access, also referred to as “Inclusion Services,” provides modifications, accommodations, support staff, sign language interpreters, auxiliary aids and trainings to promote awareness and sensitivity to enable and ensure an individual’s successful participation and accessibility of programs and services throughout the County.

C&O Canal National Historic Park Was Eighth Most-Visited National Park in 2020

Photos by Emily DeTitta


The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, which this year is celebrating its 50th year as a national park, was the eighth most-visited park in 2020 among the more than 400 national parks administered by the National Park Service. Montgomery County, which is one of four Maryland counties through which the C&O Canal Park passes, derives considerable economic impact for being a host of one of the nation’s great natural resources.

For more than 100 years, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park was a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River. Today, it endures as a pathway for discovering historical and recreational treasures. The 184.5-mile-long recreational, educational and historic attraction welcomes more than five million visitors most years. Even in 2020—a year dominated by the COVID-19 health crisis—the C&O Canal Park had 4.9 visitors.

It is estimated that the four Maryland counties and 10 canal towns that host the park attracted approximately $98.4 million in visitor spending in 2019, according to figures supplied by the National Park Service.

The early favorable weather of 2021 makes it likely the C&O Canal Park will again have an overwhelming number of visitors.

According to National Park Service’s Social Science Program, which coordinates the collection of recreational visitation statistics for the park service, the 10 most-visited park areas it administers in 2020 were Blue Ridge Parkway (14.1 million visitors), Golden Gate Recreation Area (12.4 million), Great Smokey Mountains National Park (12.1 million), Gateway National Recreation Area (8.4 million), Lake Mead National Recreation Area (8 million), George Washington Memorial Parkway (6.2 million), Natchez Trace Parkway (6.1 million), C&O Canal National Historic Park (4.9 million), Cape Cod National Seashore (4.1 million) and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (4.1 million). In comparison, Yellowstone National Park had 3.8 million visitors in 2020.

Among the C&O Canal Park highlights in Montgomery County are:
  • The Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center. The heart of the C&O Canal National Historical Park is the anchor that can arrange a walking tour with a park ranger, a solo phone tour or guided tours of Riley’s lockhouse tours.
  • The Great Falls. There are three overlooks available to view the waterfalls and the Potomac River. Each are about a five- to 10-minute walk from the visitor center and two of them are handicap- and stroller-accessible. Expect to see a variety of wildlife like deer, beavers, red foxes and many different species of birds.
  • The Billy Goat Trail. Offers scenic views of the Potomac River and has three hiking sections that are set for different skill levels. Section A, which is 1.75 miles long, is the most technical and strenuous hike in the trail and does not allow dogs. Section B is 1.4 miles long, is a moderately challenging hike and allows dogs. Section C is 1.6 miles long, is perfect for beginners and less-experienced hikers. Also allows dogs.
  • Canal Quarters Lockhouse Program. Managed by the C&O Canal Trust, the lockhouse program gives guests the opportunity to step back in time and live like a lockkeeper for the night. Each of the seven historic lockhouses – with five in Montgomery County, Maryland – are restored and furnished to reflect the time period in which they are built, and each location tells a different story about the development of the C&O Canal. Three lockhouses are considered “full-amenity” structures that include running water, electric, air conditioning, full bathroom and more. Full-amenity lockhouses are available to rent for $160 per night.
The C&O Canal Park is open all year during daylight hours and closes at dark. For those driving to the canal and looking to park on-site, the entrance fee is $20 per vehicle and $15.00 per motorcycle. For those biking or parking off-site and then walking to the park, the entrance fee is $10. An annual pass if also available for $35.00. All money goes to park-related projects and conserving the C&O Canal Park. Dogs are allowed at the park.

For more information on exploring all 184.5 miles of the park, download the explorer mobile app for more than 600 points of interest mapped in a searchable format. It allows users to find nearby hiking trails, campgrounds, historical sites, trailheads and parking.

‘Next Steps of Economic Recovery’ Following COVID-19 Health Crisis Will Be Theme as County Hosts Recovery Virtual Town Hall on Friday, April 16

“Next Steps of Economic Recovery” will be the theme from noon-1 p.m. on Friday, April 16, when Montgomery County’s COVID-19 Economic Revitalization and Recovery program continues its series of virtual town hall meetings to keep businesses informed on strategies for doing business as the health crisis continues.

County Executive Marc Elrich initiated the series of town halls held twice-monthly on Friday as a way to share updates on COVID-19 topics of interest to the business community. The town halls give businesses an opportunity to hear directly from County leaders. Jerome Fletcher, the County’s assistant chief administrative officer (ACAO) for economic development, hosts the sessions. He also provides updates on grant programs available to County businesses and offers ideas that can help economic recovery.

“The negative impact of the pandemic on our County’s businesses could far outlast the pandemic itself,” said County Executive Elrich. “I encourage all Montgomery County businesses to learn more about our COVID-19 Economic Revitalization and Recovery programs and get the latest information and resources. With billions of dollars of support coming into Maryland from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to assist the community, including helping businesses to recover, there are new opportunities and funds available to support businesses, employees and our County’s economy.”

The April 16 town hall will provide updates on the County COVID-19 vaccination efforts and economic recovery from the health crisis. Guests at the forum will include Travis Gayles, the County health officer, and Earl Stoddard, the County’s director of Emergency Management. They will discuss the next steps of the reopening process.

If business owners, employees or residents have questions they would like to see addressed at the April 16 town hall, they can be submitted by Wednesday, April 14, to BizPortal@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov.

“It’s time to have an in-depth conversation about the challenges of the speed of reopening versus the speed of vaccinating our community,” said ACAO Fletcher.

To join the broadcast, go to https://zoom.us/j/98584224354?pwd=ekdBd05kT08zRmxCekQzajkwdW9LZz09. Webinar ID: 985 8422 4354. Passcode: 057204.

The town hall will be broadcast on County Cable Montgomery (cable station CCM), which is available on Comcast and RCN (channels 6 and HD996) and Verizon (channel 30). It can be viewed live via County social media at https://www.facebook.com/montgomerycountyinfo.

Town halls are recorded and available through the Montgomery County Business Portal at https://montgomerycountymd.gov/Biz-Resources/covid19/4BizNews.html

April 1, 2021

A Message from County Executive Marc Elirch


Dear Friends,

More and more people are getting vaccinated for COVID-19, which is great.

However, we are once again seeing an increase in cases and test positivity, and it is concerning. Our seven-day average case count per 100,000 residents is higher than it was in mid-June, and yet the State has lifted many restrictions.

In Montgomery County, our case and positivity rates have gone up 25 percent over the last three weeks.

Across the State, cases are going up. We are at levels that have surpassed the second wave in mid-summer and are at the same levels we were at the end of last October.

https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/

You can see that today, we are higher than we were during the “second wave”:

The variants have been found in Maryland and are likely contributing to this increase. We are also seeing hospital bed use rates for COVID cases beginning to rise.

While we take some comfort that our numbers are lower than most of the State and region, they are numbers that we considered unsafe back in the summer, and they are still unsafe now. New COVID-19 infections are increasing across the State and the country.

We are still in the midst of this pandemic. Please follow guidelines—wear a mask and please continue to maintain physical distance.

And testing continues to be very important. Last weekend, I visited ANGARAI's COVID Test Center (ACTC) in Silver Spring. I was impressed with its operation and grateful for its efforts. To see where you can get tested in Montgomery County, go to https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/testing.html.

The good news is that more and more people are getting vaccinated:


Please note: beginning this week, all residents 16-and-over can preregister to get a vaccine. Preregister on the County site at https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/vaccine/. You can also preregister at the State site at https://onestop.md.gov/preregistration.

On a different note, I know that many of you have seen the video regarding a 5-year-old student and his interactions with the police. I want everyone to know that I – and all of us – take the incident extremely seriously. You can view my statement on this incident here. Even before I was elected, I was determined to work on issues of racial equity and on the role police in our community. We had money in our budget to allow for us to do a study, a complete study, that involved evaluating hiring and promotion policies, the training our officers receive, and review of police data from an equity perspective. Last year, I created and convened a community task force to begin this work, along with our consultants who are conducting a comprehensive audit of the Police Department that will guide our reimagining public safety efforts. We are nearing the end of that project, we will soon be receiving reports on training and on what our data shows and it will identify areas where we need to bring about change. 

Enjoy your holidays and the warm weather when it returns, but please keep following the guidelines. We are almost there and our continued restrictions will help save lives until we can get the vaccines out everywhere.

Sincerely,



Marc Elrich
County Executive

March 31, 2021

COVID-19 Update: Vaccine Preregistration Now Open to All County Residents 16-and-Over; Mass Vaccination Center Now Open

Montgomery County has opened preregistration at County-operated COVID-19 vaccine centers to all County residents 16-and-over. To register for a County-operated center go to http://www.govaxmoco.com. More vaccines have become available, so the County has opened a mass vaccination site on the campus of Montgomery College in Germantown.

As more vaccines come into Maryland, residents also can continue to preregister for State mass vaccination clinics online or by calling 1-855-MDGOVAX (1-855-634-6829). Residents are encouraged to preregister with the State and with the County—and advised to take the first vaccination appointment they are offered at any clinic.
 
A new vaccine center is now open in the County. It is the mass vaccination center on the campus of Montgomery College in Germantown. The County is operating the vaccine center through Wednesday, April 7. It is expected that the State will convert the site to a Maryland mass vaccination center beyond that date. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced last week that a State mass vaccination site will open at the Germantown campus starting next week. He did not establish a date that will happen. The site will be managed by the State and vaccinations will be available to all Marylanders.

Free Ride-On bus shuttle service is operating from the Shady Grove Metro station to the vaccination site at Montgomery College in Germantown. The service was established by the direction of County Executive Marc Elrich. Buses will run every 15 minutes from 8:30 a.m. until 30 minutes after the last vaccination (approximately 5 p.m.). Pick up the shuttle on the east side of the Shady Grove Metro. Buses will be marked “Vaccination Shuttle.”

The Germantown site replaces the County-operated site that had been at Quince Orchard High School. That site had to be closed as students have returned to classrooms around the County. Residents who received a first dose of a vaccine at Quince Orchard, but did not yet receive a second vaccine, will get that second dose at Montgomery College.

The County-operated vaccination site at Richard Montgomery High School also has closed. That clinic has moved to the Wheaton Library and Community Recreation Center.

As of Thursday morning, approximately one-third of all County residents have received at least one vaccine. State statistic shows more than 340,700 County residents (32.5 percent) have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. There are more than 185,700 fully vaccinated County residents (17.7 percent).

While the number of people being vaccinated is increasing daily, the average number of County residents with confirmed positive COVID-19 cases has also increased since 2021 low points in mid-March. COVID hospital bed-use rates are beginning to rise as well. See details on the County COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

Residents who have received at least their first vaccination can help others by canceling their preregistration for a County-run clinic. Completing the form will remove a person from the preregistration list.

As more residents are vaccinated, others have become more lenient about getting tested for the virus. However, it is still important to get tested because that helps health officials track the spread of COVID-19 in the community. There are free testing clinics every week throughout the County. Find a complete schedule of upcoming clinics at www.MoCOCOVIDTesting.org.

County Buses to Continue Free Service Through At Least June 30, But Will Resume Front-Door Boarding on April 5


Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has directed the County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) to continue free service on all Ride On, Ride On extRa and Flash buses at least through the end of the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30. Throughout the COVID-19 health crisis, MCDOT has been operating its bus operations with fare collections suspended and was one of the first agencies in the country to implement this policy.

“Many of our residents who rely on public transportation have been severely impacted economically by the pandemic, and we must continue to do everything we can to assist them to move around the County and region,” said County Executive Elrich. “As our residents will need bus service to receive vaccines that become more readily available over the next few months, I am pleased that we will be extending free Ride On bus service until the end of June. The County Council and I are on the same page and understand how important this free service is to our residents during this difficult time. I also want to acknowledge that this decision was assisted by the funds we are receiving from the American Rescue Plan, and I want to reiterate our appreciation to President Biden and our Congressional Delegation for this support. We encourage residents to utilize this service as a safe, environmentally friendly and free way to get around the County.”

Ride On buses will have one change in service starting Monday, April 5, as MCDOT will resume front-door boarding. Only the rear doors have been used for boarding for most passengers since March of last year in response to the health crisis. Front-door boarding will resume on all Ride On and Ride On ExtRa services. On the Flash—the unique service that operates in the Route 29 corridor—passengers will now be able to use all doors. This measure will also make more space available for passengers inside the buses.

“I am happy that the County Executive and the County Council support the extension of fare-free transit service,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “Resuming safe front-door boarding will speed up service and make more space available for passengers. Being able to reach this milestone is a result of the hard work of Montgomery County’s transit and fleet employees.”

For the health safety of riders, passengers and bus operators, clear protective partitions have been installed to provide separation between riders, people entering the front door and bus operators. In addition to allowing front-door access, partitions make it possible to reopen seating areas in the front of buses and allow for more passengers to ride in a distanced manner.

Pandemic safety measures remain in effect. All passengers are required to wear a face covering to board and must continue wearing the covering for the entire time riding on a bus. All buses have a supply of face coverings for those who do not provide their own.

Social distancing is strongly recommended in all public spaces including onboard the buses and trains and at bus stops and shelters. Riders are asked to make best efforts to maintain maximum physical distance between themselves and other riders who are not from the same household.

Bus interiors will continue to be cleaned by the County’s Department of General Services twice daily with hospital-grade disinfectant. Bus filter and ventilation systems also are treated each night with a disinfectant.

For the most up-to-date service information, riders should follow @RideOnMCT on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. In addition, information is available at RideOnBus.com or by subscribing to “Ride On Services” email alerts. Riders also can receive text alerts by texting MONTGOMERY RIDEON to 468311.

For department updates, follow @MCDOTNow on Twitter, visit the department website at montgomerycountymd.gov/mcdot, subscribe to MCDOT news releases or subscribe to MCDOT’s ‘Go Montgomery!’ newsletter.

COVID-19 Information Portal Has Statistics on How the Virus Has Impacted the County, Including Infections by Zip Codes  


Montgomery County’s COVID-19 Information Portal provides a variety of breakdowns on how the virus has impacted the County. The statistics are regularly updated to reflect the most recent reports during the health crisis.   
   
Among the information available is how many positive cases have been reported in each zip code in the County. That information can be found at https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/data/case-counts.html#cases-zip.   
   
Other breakdowns on the COVID-19 Information Portal include:   

Montgomery County’s GreenFest 2021: A Month-Long Virtual Celebration of Earth Month Begins April 1


Montgomery County’s annual GreenFest—a celebration of the environment—this year will be a month of free online and in-person events throughout April. The series of activities will include educational workshops, an environmental film festival and family friendly games and scavenger hunts.

GreenFest is a chance for residents, businesses, nonprofits and neighbors to come together, share ideas and get involved in finding ways to make the County a cleaner, greener place.

GreenFest partners include the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Montgomery Parks, Brookside Gardens, the County Department of Transportation, Poolesville Green, Bethesda Green, One Montgomery Green and University of Maryland’s Sea Grant Extension.

“Greenfest epitomizes our community’s commitment to sustainable practices and eco-friendly culture,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “I encourage all residents to participate in Greenfest activities and enjoy these free, family-friendly ways to educate and empower us to do better in order to protect our planet for future generations.”

Greenfest kicks off Thursday, April 1, with a series of educational workshops by industry experts on a variety of topics that will help resident to “green” the Earth and their home environments. GreenFest partners are also will join the DC Environmental Film Festival to offer free online documentary screenings in April.

All lectures and screenings will be held online using Zoom. After registering, a link will be emailed to 24 hours prior to the live webinar.

The schedule of free GreenFest educational workshops will include:
  • Beautifying Montgomery County through Plogging. Thursday, April 1. 7-8 p.m.
    Ever heard of Plogging? The virtual lecture will address a new trend in environmental activism. It will talk about community cleanup initiatives of Montgomery County groups working together on this important campaign. Register at https://apm.activecommunities.com/montgomerycounty/Activity_Search/115141.
  • Como puedo ayudar yo? (lecture in Spanish). Thursday, April 8. 7-8:30 p.m. Join efforts to protect our communities and the environment. Join Montgomery County agencies, Montgomery Parks and local nonprofits such as the Audubon Naturalist Society, CHEER, CHISPA of MD, Defensores de la Cuenca and Latino Outdoors in a discussion about current environmental efforts in the County. The lecture will talk about the various ways the Latino community can join to protect our communities and the environment. Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/95131072528. Join via telephone at 301-715-8592. Webinar ID: 951 3107 2528.
  • Aiming for Zero Waste: Compost Food Scraps in Your Backyard. Thursday, April 15. 7-8 p.m. Join the County Department of Environmental Protection for a virtual workshop on how to compost various types of food scraps in the backyard using rodent-proof compost bins. Discussion will address acceptable types of materials that can be composted, best practices to manage the composting process to prevent critters and odor and what to do with the amazing “black gold” after the materials are composted. Register at https://apm.activecommunities.com/montgomerycounty/Activity_Search/115144 .
  • Become a Community Scientist in Your Own Backyard – Join the City Nature Challenge. Thursday, April 22. 7-8 p.m. The “City Nature Challenge” from April 30 to May 3 features cities around the world competing to make the most observations of nature, find the most species and engage the most people. Residents can submit photos of wildlife through the iNaturalist app and contribute to ecological studies that help scientists better understand the plants and animals of the local landscape. Lecture will detail how easy it is to participate, including how to use the iNaturalist app to submit observations. Have a smart phone with the free iNaturalist app pre-downloaded. Registration required at https://apm.activecommunities.com/montgomerycounty/Activity_Search/115146
  • Creating a Planter with Native Plants. Thursday, April 29. 7-8 p.m. Lecture will highlight the benefits of using native plants to beautify gardens while helping to support local wildlife and pollinators. Participants will learn steps to create a beautiful planter using plants native to this region. One participant will win a native plant container. Register at https://apm.activecommunities.com/montgomerycounty/Activity_Search/115148
The DC Environmental Film Festival at GreenFest will feature environmentally themed films available free to the public as part of Earth Month activities. The presentations will have virtual panel discussions with experts.

The festival schedule:

Environmental Justice and Communities of Color. Tuesday, April 20. 7-8 p.m. Series of short films showcases the initiatives underway in minority communities to address a variety of environmental issues. The panel discussion will bring together activists and environmental experts to discuss environmental justice as it relates to communities of color. Discussion will address how climate change will impact the health and quality of life for Black and brown communities. Other issues will include the work being done in Montgomery County and beyond to engage minority communities in protecting their environments.

The film lineup includes:
Scheduled to be on the panel:
  • Tim Paule and Nicole Lindsey, Detroit Hives
  • Rozina Kanchwala, EcoLogic
  • Pablo Blank, CASA of Maryland
  • Fred Tutman, Patuxent Riverkeeper, Waterkeeper Alliance
Register at https://apm.activecommunities.com/montgomerycounty/Activity_Search/115149. Links to watch the films online will be emailed to participants after they register.

The Story of Plastic. Tuesday, April 27. 7-8 p.m. Plastic pollution is everywhere, smothering watersheds, bays and oceans and poisoning communities around the world. The session will address what is being done to increase recycling and eliminate plastic waste. Join environmental leaders to discuss the efforts underway in Montgomery County and Maryland to reduce waste stream and improve the environment.

Registration required at https://apm.activecommunities.com/montgomerycounty/Activity_Search/115153. A link to watch the film online will be emailed to participants after they register.

Scheduled to be on the panel:
  • Moderator: Adam Ortiz, director of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection
  • Shane Robinson, executive director of Trash Free Maryland
  • Lori Nicholson, community activist in Montgomery County
  • Lorig Charkoudian, Maryland State Delegate
Community cleanups will begin throughout the County on April 1. Learn more at #MontgomeryPlogs Challenge at Greenfest.

Sign up for the #MontgomeryPlogs #Challenge can be done at https://mcgmd.wufoo.com/forms/greenfest-plogging-challenge/

Children’s games and activities will be scheduled throughout the Greenfest celebration. Greenfest Scavenger Hunts will be part of the fun. They are family friendly nature exploration events for all ages and abilities. These outdoor adventures will offer lessons about eco-friendly features in the community and at local parks. 

Restaurants Invited to Participate in MoCo Eats Week from April 23-May 3 to Gain Exposure from Event’s Marketing and Promotion


The COVID-19 health crisis has made the past 13 months difficult for residents and businesses of all kinds in Montgomery County. Particularly impacted have been the County’s restaurants. Now, as more people become vaccinated and restrictions are eased, Visit Montgomery and the County’s Department of Alcohol Beverage Services are working on a campaign to increase business at restaurants.

Restaurants around the County are invited to join MoCo Eats Week, a special restaurant week from April 23 through May 3. The event is being organized to allow diners to enjoy food and drinks at discounted prices. It is a great opportunity for residents and visitors to explore the diverse culinary scene in the County. For restaurants, it will be a way to encourage old customers to return to their favorite places and to introduce themselves to new customers enticed by the campaign.

The event organizers will spearhead the promotion and advertising for MoCo Eats Week The event is not a typical restaurant week in that restaurants are often open in limited areas or with strict instructions on how meals must be offered. MoCo Eats Week is open to all restaurants, as well as craft beverage producers and local food producers.

The details of MoCo Eats Week include:
  • Businesses pick their own deals or discounts. They can offer both dine-in and carry-out options.
  • Participants will be listed in the Digital Savings Pass, where consumers can check-in to their location to redeem deals.
  • Self-guided itineraries will be available to suggest clusters of deals throughout the county.
  • In-person and virtual events will be held all week long. Businesses can host an event during the week or submit pre-recorded events. (These can be cooking or cocktail-making segments, history happy hours, tastings or other creative offerings.)
Restaurants that want more information on MoCo Eats Week, and how they can participate, can go to https://visitmontgomery.com/moco-eats/restaurant-week-participation/.

New Episode of Montgomery County’s ‘What’s Happening MoCo’ Podcast Addresses Safety and Quality of Life for Seniors

Improving the quality of life of senior residents in Montgomery County, identifying services available to them and how to obtain emergency housing for those in crisis situations are the themes of the latest episode of the “What’s Happening MoCo” podcast. The podcast highlights people and programs important to the residents of Montgomery County.

Podcast guests Sydney Palinkas, the community outreach and education manager for the ElderSafe Center Program, and Maria Brianconn, president of the Poolesville Senior Center, share advice that will empower seniors in Poolesville and throughout the County to overcome the challenges many face such as elder abuse, financial scams and isolation.

The new episode is now available. The on-demand video of the newest episode can be viewed via the What’s Happening MoCo Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WhatsHappeningMoCoPodcast. The podcast also can be heard via several popular podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts at https://bit.ly/whats-happening-moco, Google Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio and others.

In this podcast, Ms. Palinkas talked about how seniors, and caregivers, can get help and advice from the Elder Safe Program. It provides assistance through a free hotline and can help arrange for emergency housing for qualifying seniors. The Elder Safe Program seeks to help seniors in crisis. The Poolesville Senior Center works to ensure that UpCounty seniors feel connected.

Ms. Brianconn asserts that quality of life is an important part of senior living. The Poolesville Senior Center, like other senior centers throughout the County, faced a great challenge to help UpCounty seniors stay active during the COVID-19 health crisis over the past year. However, with tools such as Zoom and events such as pop-up walks, Brianconn said the senior center has found creative ways to continue.

Throughout the podcast, Ms. Brianconn and Ms. Palinkas provide valuable tips that can be of immediate benefit to senior residents and their families.

More information about the ElderSafe Center Program can be found at https://www.smithlifecommunities.org/care-services/eldersafe-care/. More information about the Poolesville Senior Center can be found at https://poolesvilleseniors.org/.

In past episodes, podcast host Derrick Kenny has talked with guests on a wide variety of subjects. The show’s guests have included elected officials, Montgomery employees who specialize in specific aspects of government, business leaders and entertainers who live in the County. New podcasts are released twice a month.

Residents and others interested in asking a question or suggesting a topic to be addressed in a future episode are encouraged to engage via the Facebook page or via e-mail at derrick.kenny@montgomerycountymd.gov.

What’s Happening MoCo podcast episode archives can be accessed by visiting the podcast’s webpage at https://montgomerycountymd.gov/CCM/whats-happening-moco-podcast.html.

County Recreation Seeks Residents to Join Volunteer Program That Reaches Out to Seniors to Detail Services and Opportunities Available


Montgomery County Recreation’s (MCR) Senior Program Team is inviting residents to help advance programming for adults 55 and older by joining a new outreach team. The newly formed group was organized after a series of community listening sessions indicated there was a strong interest in volunteering as senior promoters to assist with the delivery of senior services.

The team of community outreach workers will work as ambassadors to understand and vocalize the needs and preferences of older adults. The group will actively engage in shaping social and recreation services to the County’s diverse community of seniors.

Five community members will lead the team with assistance from MCR. There are multiple areas for outreach including:
  • Making recommendations to MCR about recreation and social programming offerings that best serve the needs and preferences of older residents.
  • Outlining the needs of caregivers and outlining strategies to support caregivers.
  • Identify fresh perspectives on how to effectively meet the changing and diverse needs of older adults.
There is flexibility within the group to expand to other areas, depending on the experiences, expertise and interest of the volunteers.

Those interested in joining the outreach program should email Emily McDonell at Emily.mcdonell@montgomerycountymd.gov.

New Online Series Will Update Business Professionals and Homeowners on County’s Permitting Procedures

Montgomery County’s Department of Permitting Services (DPS) has launched a new online educational series for business professionals and homeowners that will update the department's regulations and permit processes. The first of the series covered the topic of Sediment Control Permits.

Each session will provide a general overview of the permitting process and tips on ensuring plans are reviewed quickly. It is hoped that the series will reduce the number of reviews.

“Our goal is to help customers maneuver through our permitting and plan review process and avoid some of the common mistakes that can increase plan review timeframes,” said Linda Kobylski, chief for the DPS Land Development Division. “We hope these sessions will also reduce any surprises in the field during construction. DPS is also exploring opportunities for design professionals to earn CE credits for attending these educational webinars.”

Spring has arrived and many property owners will consider improvement projects including installation or replacement of a fence. The next session in the DPS series will cover fence permitting. DPS experts will provide a guide through the requirements for construction of a new fence, repairs or replacement, zoning requirements and how to avoid issues related to encroachment of the public right of way. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions as well.

The session on fencing will be held from 2-3:30 p.m. on April 15. Registration is required.at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2799306440767781902.

The session on sediment control permits can be viewed at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/8180592324234152711

Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services’ Launches ‘Pause Program’ to Encourage Responsible Driving Decisions for Alcohol Awareness Month



April is National Alcohol Awareness Month and Montgomery County’s Department of Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) is launching a “Pause Program” in partnership with Brown-Forman, a spirits manufacturer. The program encourages people to momentarily “pause” and make responsible decisions around alcohol, particularly in relation to drinks to-go.

ABS is distributing 20,000 branded stickers designed to fit on the lid or side of a to-go drink container that reads, “Pause until you get home—please do not open or consume while driving.” Throughout April, ABS is providing the stickers to restaurants that are approved to sell and deliver beer, wine, spirits and cocktails for off-premises consumption, along with a takeout or delivered meal. ABS also is providing stickers to off-premise licensed businesses and their own County-operated retail stores. Stickers will be offered to businesses at no cost.

“This is a great opportunity to remind the public and community at-large that alcohol to-go must be consumed at home, not while walking around town and never while driving,” said ABS Acting Director Kathie Durbin. “We want to keep our communities safe while helping businesses thrive in a time of need.”

The Montgomery County Board of License Commissioners last year approved a temporary resolution allowing restaurants to sell beer, wine, spirits and cocktails to-go during the COVID-19 health emergency. The to-go permission includes any type of sealed container, including bottles, cans, growlers, crowlers and takeout cups with lids for off-premises consumption. Under the resolution, businesses can deliver beer, wine, spirits and cocktails to County addresses, along with a meal, using the businesses own staff. State law prohibits the delivery of alcohol by a third party, such as Grubhub or Uber Eats.

Businesses that would like to request Pause Program stickers should email gabriela.monzon-reynolds@montgomerycountymd.gov by April 23.

For more information about the program, contact Gabriela Monzon-Reynolds at 202-713-6765 or gabriela.monzon-reynolds@montgomerycountymd.gov

For information about ABS, including licensing and education programs, visit its website.

ABS is the alcohol wholesaler of beer, wine and spirits for Montgomery County and operates 26 retail stores throughout the County. In addition, ABS manages alcohol licensing, enforcement, and education for more than 1,000 businesses. Generating more than $35 million in net income annually, its profits are used to pay down County debt with a large portion deposited in the general fund to pay for resident services that would otherwise be funded by County tax dollars.

Montgomery County Challenges Residents to Start Plogging—An Initiative to Encourage Picking Up Trash While Jogging or Walking

To celebrate the start of Earth Month, Montgomery County is kicking off a spring #PloggingChallenge from April 1 through June 30. The initiative, led by the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in partnership with Montgomery Parks and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, challenges everyone to “plog”—pick up trash while they jog or walk.

The plogging concept asks people who regularly jog or a walk to take a trash bag and a grabber and pick up trash while they are on their route.

Plogging is a worldwide trend that started in Sweden and is now a part of Montgomery County’s effort to reduce litter. It also is a great way to get in extra exercise. As a workout, plogging adds bending, squatting and stretching to the main actions of jogging or walking, all while cleaning up our community.

Residents can join the #PloggingChallenge by taking a photo of themselves plogging in Montgomery County and tagging the DEP Instagram account @mygreenmc or using the hashtag #MontgomeryPlogs on Instagram. Participants also can submit photos via email to DEP.contests@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Anyone who joins the #PloggingChallenge can get a free “Plog-A-Long" pack by signing up on the DEP website https://mygreenmontgomery.org/2021/greenfest-plogging-challenge/

Each Plog-A-Long pack contains trash and recycling bags, gloves, a one litter grabber and hand sanitizer. Those who sign up to receive a Plog-A-Long pack are committing to picking up trash, disposing of trash properly and reporting the number of bags of trash that are picked up.

Students will be eligible to earn one Student Service Learning hour per day, per bag of trash picked up. Prizes and other plogging events are planned throughout the campaign.

All Plog-Along Packs must be picked up in person at a designated location. See the website for further details.

“The Plogging Challenge is a fun and engaging way to raise awareness about stormwater pollution,” said DEP Director Adam Ortiz. “All of the trash that we see on the sides of the roads, on curbs, in streams, and in stormwater ponds eventually ends up in our rives and waterways. Plogging is a simple act that can really have an impact. Imagine how much trash we can collect if everyone were to plog even a little bit every day.”

More campaign details can be found here: https://mygreenmontgomery.org/2021/greenfest-plogging-challenge/ .

TCR2 Therapeutics Establishes Commercial-Scale Cell Therapy Manufacturing Facility in Montgomery County That Will Add 175 New Jobs

TCR2 Therapeutics Inc., a clinical-stage cell therapy company with a pipeline of novel T cell therapies for patients suffering from cancer, has announced that it has signed a long-term, full-building lease in Rockville. The Massachusetts-based company plans to add 175 jobs in the County to support its clinical and commercial production of gavo-cel, with a capacity to treat several thousand cancer patients annually.

The agreement with Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. is for an existing 85,000-square-foot cell therapy manufacturing facility in the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center in Rockville. TCR2 will build out the facility at 9500 Medical Center Drive, which will help accelerate TCR2’s commercial-scale manufacturing timelines with production anticipated in 2023.

To assist with project costs related to the expansion, the Maryland Department of Commerce has approved an $875,000 conditional loan contingent on job creation and capital investment. Montgomery County has approved a $100,000 Economic Development Fund conditional grant contingent on job creation and capital investment. The company is eligible for several tax credits, including the Job Creation Tax Credit, More Jobs for Marylanders and the County’s New Jobs Tax Credit.

TCR2 utilizes its proprietary TCR Fusion Construct T cells (TRuC®-T cells) to specifically recognize and kill cancer cells. The treatment can be personalized for each patient.

“TCR2 Therapeutics’ cancer-fighting products make them one of the most promising cell therapy companies in the life sciences industry," said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. "We realize that this company explored options in other leading life science markets, and are delighted that they have decided to bring 175 new jobs to a new state-of the-art manufacturing space in Montgomery County— just miles from the National Cancer Institute.”

The company’s lead TRuC-T cell product candidate targeting solid tumors, gavo-cel, is currently being studied in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial to treat patients with mesothelin-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), ovarian cancer, malignant pleural/peritoneal mesothelioma and bile duct cancer. Another product candidate, TC-110, is currently being studied in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial to treat patients with CD19-positive adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (aALL) and with aggressive or indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

“After observing the consistent early clinical benefit and manageable safety profile experienced by patients treated with gavo-cel, we committed to securing a dedicated U.S. manufacturing facility as the first step in building a regional network to supply cancer patients with our therapies,” said Garry Menzel, president and chief executive officer of TCR2 Therapeutics. “Leasing an existing manufacturing footprint is a substantial milestone for TCR2, saving us valuable time and capital so that we can be ready for commercial production in 2023. Our new state-of-the-art facility will allow us to directly leverage our cell therapy process development expertise and control our end-to-end production supply chain. We are very pleased to be building a world-class cell therapy production facility for gavo-cel that will bring new hope to cancer patients suffering from solid tumors.”

The facility will provide space for commercial and clinical manufacturing, quality control laboratories and offices upon completion.

“In choosing Montgomery County, TCR2 found the perfect location to quickly build their advanced manufacturing facility and accelerate the development time of their personalized cancer therapies,” said Benjamin H. Wu, president and CEO of Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation. "The company’s arrival and long-term commitment truly add to Montgomery County's stature as the Immunology Capital next to the Nation's Capital."