September 24, 2021

Message from the County Executive



Dear Friends,

Greetings and happy first week of fall. I hope that over the next three months your families get to enjoy and explore the splendor of fall throughout Montgomery County. If you are looking for events to attend, places to go or something new to do, please check out Visit Montgomery’s website at https://visitmontgomery.com/.

As for our COVID-19 update this week, we continue to be in the “substantial transmission” category, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We currently have the lowest test positivity rate in the State. However, our case rates are significantly higher now than they were at this time last year without the vaccine. On this date last year, we had 53.11 cases per 100,000 residents. This week, we were at 84.23.

And COVID cases continue to increase among children, who account for nearly 30 percent of all cases reported statewide. Those under 18 make up 22 percent of our State’s total population, meaning that they are now being impacted more than their proportion of our population. Some people still think that this virus doesn’t impact kids because, at the beginning, our elderly were hardest hit. But the reality is that we need to be aware that our children are vulnerable, especially now that school is back full-time.

The relatively good news is that despite the increase in cases, our high vaccination rates continue to mitigate the problems. Our COVID vaccination rates continue to be best in the nation among large jurisdictions. Of our total population, 74.9 percent are fully vaccinated and more than 82.5 percent has at least one dose. Almost 89 percent of the eligible population (12 and older) is fully vaccinated and almost 98 percent of this population has at least one dose.

We continue to work at identifying who and where the populations are that still need to be vaccinated and how to convince them to get their shot. Last Friday, I joined the Maryland Department of Health at Africutz Barber & Beauty Shop in Silver Spring for its “Haircuts for Health: Getting Beyond COVID” effort to support equitable and convenient access to vaccinations for hard-to-reach communities. Africutz offered free haircuts for those who got vaccinated and there was plenty of health staff on hand to answer questions and concerns.

This is one of the ways we are trying to get the message out to hard-to-reach communities. We are trying to explain that the evidence shows that vaccines work and that even with the “breakthrough” cases for the vaccinated, the bad outcomes (hospitalization or even worse, death) are much less likely for those who are vaccinated.

Remembrance and Reconciliation is Essential

The Montgomery County Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission, Montgomery History and the Montgomery County Lynching Memorial Project this weekend will address the history of lynchings in Montgomery County. As part of our effort to better understand our past and create a more inclusive and equitable community, we are committed to making sure County residents are exposed to the parts of our history that often are not taught or discussed and that a legacy of injustice remains in our society to this day.

Montgomery History will host “Unwritten Law: A Virtual Symposium on the Lynchings in Rockville” from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25. Three Montgomery County historians will provide accounts of the lynchings of Mr. John Diggs-Dorsey and Mr. Sidney Randolph. This historical analysis will provide background on the economic, social and political context of Montgomery County in the final decades of the 19th century and explore how elements of these murders were replicated in other parts of Maryland and the United States. You can register via Zoom here.

On Sunday, Sept. 26, the Montgomery County Lynching Memorial Project and the County’s Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission will host the Remembrance Pilgrimage Walk from noon-3 p.m. This will be followed by the Soil Collection Ceremony from 4-5:30 p.m. The Sunday events will be in-person and you can register here. For more information please visit http://www.montgomeryhistory.org/remembranceweekend/.

Earlier this month, I wrote about the focus on the Underground Railroad and Josiah Henson. The Josiah Henson Museum and Park helps put American history in context, celebrates the Underground Railroad and honors Josiah Henson. You may find this video interesting about some of the work that was done at the site. The history of slavery and racial injustice needs to be taught. As Maya Angelou said, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

Tackling Climate Change – at the United Nations and Here at Home

This week is Climate Week and Clean Energy Week. World leaders are gathering at the United Nations for a meeting on climate and energy issues. The magnitude of the climate emergency requires an all hands-on deck approach from all levels of government and society, worldwide.

Montgomery County is one of many jurisdictions around the world that submitted an Energy Compact to the United Nations this week. Energy Compacts are commitments being made by nation-states, companies, local governments and nonprofits worldwide to advance progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 that aims to "ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.” Montgomery County’s Energy Compact highlights the vision of our Climate Action Plan and the actions that we must take between now and 2035 to advance progress toward zero greenhouse gas emissions in the County. As the saying goes, we need to think globally and act locally.

I am very proud of the Climate Action Plan that we released in June. It is a strategic plan that outlines the path for the County to reach our climate goals to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. The Climate Action Plan also discusses the effects of a changing climate on Montgomery County and outlines strategies to reduce our climate-related risks. This plan is one of the most aggressive in the country and we have no time to waste in implementing its recommendations.

Earlier this month, Hurricane Ida and the deadly aftereffects of torrential rain, flash flooding, and tornados brought climate change front and center here and around the country even as we continue to grapple with COVID-19. Due to climate change, these storms are bigger, more intense, and more destructive year after year. We can’t reverse this trend, but we can slow down the deadly impacts. This is not going to happen by simply wishing or praying for it to get better. We need smart policy and the political will and courage to make tough decisions.

There are two climate action policies that are part of our Climate Action Plan that I sent to the County Council to address emissions from new and existing buildings. The Building Energy Performance Standard legislation, known as “BEPS,” will require owners of the largest and most energy-consuming buildings to take action to improve their buildings’ energy performances. The other is the adoption of the International Green Construction Code, which would require that new buildings use less energy, generate more renewable energy and create healthy spaces for our residents.

I participated in the National Drive Electric Poolesville Event last weekend. It is my understanding that this was the largest National Drive Electric Week celebration in the world. Here in Montgomery County, transportation makes up 42 percent of our County’s greenhouse gas emissions. Converting to electric vehicles—which we have begun for our buses and police vehicles--is one part of our climate efforts.

Single-occupancy vehicles still make up the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions, producing about two-thirds of total emissions for the transportation category. We must focus on switching to electric vehicles and also support public transportation, walking, biking and micro mobility.

Our County Government is leading by example. Saturday’s EV car show featured our two brand-new electric police cruisers (Mustang Mach E), which we are piloting. We have also committed to a net-zero emissions bus fleet by 2035. That effort will be complemented by adding clean hydrogen vehicles to that fleet. We already have four EV buses on the road and will have up to 44 electric Ride On buses by 2023. Additionally, I was proud to help with the effort to convert the MCPS fleet to electric buses.

We are also promoting walkable, bikeable and mass transit accessible smart growth development. This week, I attended the groundbreaking of Twinbrook Quarter, a multi-purpose commercial and residential development located at the Twinbrook Metro Station. This transit-friendly development will be anchored by Wegman’s and will be a very attractive location and destination for companies looking to grow in or move to Montgomery County.

I want to thank B.F. Saul—the developer of this project—for its outreach and work with this local community. Mr. Saul made a point about the importance of working with the community and involving them in the project, so that what gets built fits with the broader community vision. As our economy continues to recover from pandemic impacts, projects like Twinbrook Quarter will be important to our job creation and smart growth goals.

Additional Early Voting Sites Added

As we prepare to enter another election year, it is critical to ensure that we are protecting, expanding, and ensuring that every resident has easy access to cast their vote. It has been a sad tragedy over the last several months as states around this nation passed legislation whose purpose is to disenfranchise voters and suppress the votes.

I am pleased that the Board of Elections approved the addition of two more early voting sites, one at the White Oak Community Recreation Center and the other at the Nancy H. Dacek North Potomac Community Recreation Center. I and my Council colleagues had urged this approval in this letter we sent to the Board. An early voting site is also likely to be added at the Bauer Drive Community Recreation Center. There is a formal process that must happen (including approval by the State), but since the Council and I agree that it is a good idea, it is likely there will not be any obstacles to that. You can read about the issue in this article from Bethesda Beat.

As always, thank you for your ongoing support.

With appreciation,



Marc

September 23, 2021

30th Annual Burtonsville Day Parade and Festival on Saturday, Sept. 25, to Celebrate ‘Health Care Workers’ as Grand Marshals and Will Feature County Executive Elrich


“Better Together” will be the theme on Saturday, Sept. 25, during the 30th Annual Burtonsville Day Parade and Festival. The theme reflects the community’s strong diversity. County Executive Marc Elrich is expected to be part of the festivities and the grand marshals of the parade will be “Health Care Workers.”

The parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. from Paint Branch High School, which is located at 14121 Old Columbia Pike in Burtonsville, It will proceed to the Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, and Marilyn J. Praisner Library, which are located at 14910 Old Columbia Pike. The festival will take place from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at that site.

“Bloom by Strathmore” will provide live music ranging from Latin Pop to steel pan at the festival. Family activities will include face painting for children, rock climbing, inflatables, an obstacle course and youth games. Numerous health care and social service organizations will be at the festival providing information. There will be a Musa martial arts demonstration and Montgomery County Animal Services will be at the festival with information about adopting pets. The festival will include food and service vendors.

Old Columbia Pike will be closed from Old Briggs Chaney Road (Paint Branch High School) to Marilyn J. Praisner Library from 9:30 a.m. until approximately 11:30 a.m. to accommodate the parade route. Perrywood Drive also will be closed from Carson Drive to Old Columbia Pike from 9:30 a.m. until approximately 11 a.m.

Those wanting to drive to the site of the parade are advised to arrive before 9:30 a.m. and park at Banneker Middle School, Paint Branch High School or on local streets. Old Columbia Pike also is served by Ride-On 39 or Metrobus Z6/Z8 routes.

Additional information about Burtonsville Day can be found on its flyer at https://www.burtonsvilleday.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Bville-Day-Flyer.png.

‘Unwritten Law: A Symposium on the Lynchings in Rockville’ Webinar to be Presented on Saturday, Sept. 25 


The webinar “Unwritten Law: A Symposium on Lynchings in Rockville” will be presented from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25, as Montgomery History, the Montgomery County Lynching Memorial Project and the Montgomery County Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission join together to create a Remembrance Weekend.  

The Remembrance Weekend on Sept. 25 and Sunday, Sept. 26, will recognize two men who were the victims of racial terror lynchings in Montgomery County: John Diggs-Dorsey, who was killed in 1880, and Sidney Randolph, who was killed in 1896. 

Included in the weekend will be the Remembrance Pilgrimage Walk from noon-3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 26. County Executive Marc Elrich will participate in the walk that will begin at the site of the old County jail where Mr. Diggs-Dorsey and Mr. Randolph were both held.

The walk will pass locations that were then central to a vibrant African-American community, including the sites where the men were lynched. 

After the walk, from 4-5:30 p.m., Montgomery History will host the “Soil Collection Ceremony.” The ceremony will honor the memories of Mr. Diggs-Dorsey and Mr.  Randolph with a soil collection and music. It also will have reflections by community leaders and by a representative of the Equal Justice Initiative from Montgomery, Ala. 

Speakers at the Sept. 25 symposium will include historians Ralph Buglass, Sarah Hedlund and Tony Cohen. 

The historical analysis will provide background on the economic, social and political context of Montgomery County in the final decades of the 19th Century and explore how elements of the murders were replicated in other parts of Maryland and the United States. 

The symposium will include the following sections: 
  • Part 1: Retrospective on Race in Post-Civil War Montgomery County. Local historian Ralph Buglass sets the stage by putting into context the county’s racial climate at the time of the lynchings. In the decades after the Civil War, the Black population lived in an increasingly segregated society.  
  • Part 2: Two Rockville Lynchings: The Truth Uncovered. Archivist and researcher Sarah Hedlund narrates the history of the two lynchings that occurred in Rockville: John Diggs-Dorsey in 1880 and Sidney Randolph in 1896, based on a careful reading of hundreds of newspaper reports and supplemented with genealogical research, detailed maps, photographs, and archival documents.  
  • Part 3: Anatomy of a Lynching. Led by Tony Cohen, the section will explore the racist mob killings of three black men in 19th century Montgomery County and exposes the motives and methodologies used to commit these crimes against humanity.  
To register for the webinar, go to https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_A0rV6tJRTZ2MMmYTtZle1A. 

More information on Remembrance Weekend can be found at https://montgomeryhistory.org/remembranceweekend/. 

County Executive Elrich to Hold Five Public Forums to Seek Input on FY2023 Operating Budget, Starting With Tuesday, Oct. 5, Forum in Bethesda


Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and the County’s regional services centers will host five public forums in October to seek input on the Fiscal Year 2023 Operating Budget. The first forum will be from 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 5, at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center in Bethesda. Residents can attend the forums in person or view them via the internet. 

The County is in the early stages of formulating the FY23 operating budget. County Executive Elrich is required to submit a recommended budget to the County Council by March 15. The Council will then have two months to study the budget. It must adopt a final budget by late May. The FY23 budget will go into effect on July 1.

Details on how to join the forums via the internet will be announced soon.

The tentative schedule for the five forums:
  • Tuesday, Oct. 5. 7-8:30 p.m. Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center,
    4805 Edgemoor Lane, Wisconsin D Room, Bethesda.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 6, 7-8:30 p.m. Silver Spring Civic Building,
    One Veterans Place, Silver Spring.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 13, 7-8:30 p.m. White Oak Community Recreation Center,
    1700 April Lane, Silver Spring.
  • Monday, Oct. 18, 7-8:30 p.m. BlackRock Center for the Arts,
    12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown.
  • Date TBD. Mid-County Regional Services Center,
    2424 Reedie Drive, Park and Planning Board Room, Wheaton.

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 from the State of Maryland during the health crisis. Among the information available is how many positive cases have been reported in each zip code in the County.   

For more information about the positive cases reported in the County by zip codes, visit the COVID-19 data dashboard at https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/data/. 

Other breakdowns on the COVID-19 information portal include:          

‘Incorporating Changes from the Pandemic into Ongoing Operations’ Will Be Theme as County Hosts Revitalization and Recovery Virtual Town Hall on Friday, Sept. 24 


“Incorporating Changes from the Pandemic into Ongoing Operations” will be the theme from noon-1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24, 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 every other Friday to share timely updates on COVID-19 topics of interest to the business community. The town halls give businesses an opportunity to hear directly from County leaders. Judy Stephenson, the County’s small business navigator, will host the session. She also will provide updates on grant programs available to County businesses and offer ideas that can help economic recovery. 

During the Sept. 24 town hall, Ms. Stephenson will welcome Kathie Durbin, director of the County’s Alcohol and Beverage Services (ABS). Ms. Stephenson and Director Durbin will discuss how ABS has pivoted during the pandemic.  

“We learned many lessons from the pandemic about changes that can be made to policies and procedures that do not have a negative impact on safety," Stephenson said. "Some policy changes will be continued as a result."

Ms. Stephenson also will address updates on the County COVID-19 vaccination efforts and economic recovery from the health crisis with Acting Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Earl Stoddard.  

To join the broadcast, go to https://zoom.us/j/98584224354?pwd=ekdBd05kT08zRmxCekQzajkwdW9LZz09. 

The webinar ID is 985 8422 4354. The passcode is 057204. Spanish interpretation is available.  

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). The town hall 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  

‘Eco Evenings’ Series Will Have Session with County Executive Elrich and Community Leaders on Wednesday, Sept. 29, Led by Student Advocates


Youth and the environment will be the focus from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 29, as the next session of Montgomery County’s “Eco Evening” virtual town hall series will feature County Executive Marc Elrich and community leaders and will be led by members of the “Student Advocates Protecting the Planet” (SAPPlings) program.

“Eco Evenings with DEP and OMG” is a series focused on environmental topics. The town hall style meeting is co-sponsored by the County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and One Montgomery Green (OMG). The One Montgomery Green organization fosters partnerships to support environmental sustainability and promote the development of a green economy.

SAPPlings members will discuss engaging youth to understand concerns and solutions related to the environment and environmental health. They also address how to be an active resident in protecting and nurturing the environment and the community.

The SAPPlings’ presentation will be followed by a forum where students will ask questions of guest panelists, including County Executive Elrich, Climate Change Officer Adriana Hochberg, DEP Director Adam Ortiz and OMG Executive Director Wendy Howard.

“I am very much looking forward to this engaging discussion with the young residents of Montgomery County,” said County Executive Elrich. “This generation stands the most to gain—or lose—from the actions we take today on climate change. We need their involvement, ideas and help before the impacts of climate change become catastrophic. The time is here and now for this virtual town hall and I welcome the engagement of all our young residents.”

Students can submit questions to info@onemontgomerygreen.org Subject: Eco Evenings: Meet the SAPPlings.

Residents can register in advance to participate in the event via Zoom at  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_MSN0fkgATvW-j0Ugm1UUfA

After registering, residents will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Residents can join the event for free. More information and a link to the event are available at the DEP Facebook Event Page at https://www.facebook.com/MyGreenMontgomery.

No Longer Needed Bikes for Kids and Adults Can Be Donated on Friday, Oct. 8, During Annual Bike Collection Event in Downtown Rockville


Bicycles that are no longer needed can have useful second lives for kids and adults if they are donated on Friday, Oct. 8, to the Annual Bike Collection Drive sponsored by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT).

MCDOT employees will be collecting the bicycles as part of its efforts during Community Service Month. Employees and volunteers will collect bikes from 7 a.m. through 2 p.m. outside of the Montgomery County Council parking garage entrance at the corner of East Jefferson and Monroe streets in Downtown Rockville. No bike parts or helmets will be collected.

Donated bicycles will go to the Rockville Bike Hub, a nonprofit organization whose volunteers refurbish the bikes and give them to low-income residents throughout the County. The bicycles are distributed through Rockville's Terrific Kids and MCDOT's Bike Match MoCo programs.

Residents may also donate by check to the Rockville Bike Hub during the bicycle collection event. All donated funds will be used to purchase bike helmets and parts to repair the bikes.

For more information about the bike donation event, contact Paul Gatons of MCDOT’s Commuter Services Division at paul.gatons@montgomerycountymd.gov or at 240-777-7162.

Frieda Fromm-Reichmann Cottage to be Celebrated by Peerless Rockville as City’s First National Historic Landmark in Event on Friday, Oct. 1


The Frieda Fromm-Reichmann Cottage, which was originally part of the Chestnut Lodge Sanitarium grounds in Rockville, will be celebrated by the Peerless Rockville Historic Preservation organization as the city’s first national historic landmark in an event on Friday. Oct. 1.

The event will take place outdoors, under a tent, from 4-6 p.m.at the cottage at 19 Thomas Street in Rockville. A $10 donation is requested from each attendee. Advance registration is required.

In January, the Secretary of the Interior designated the Frieda Fromm-Reichmann Cottage as a national historic landmark. It is the first historic landmark in Rockville, earning the national recognition for its association with Dr. Frieda Fromm-Reichmann and her significant contributions to the field of medicine as a psychoanalyst.

Dr. Fromm-Reichmann was a Jewish refugee fleeing Nazi Germany who made groundbreaking contributions to her scientific field. Dr. Fromm-Reichmann worked at the Chestnut Lodge Sanitarium and moved into the adjacent cottage in 1936. She lived there for the remainder of her life.

The main building on the sanitarium grounds was destroyed by a fire after it was closed. Most of the grounds are now a development of homes. Peerless Rockville later became owner of the cottage. In 2009, Peerless Rockville restored the cottage to its 1936 appearance.

Dr. Fromm-Reichmann's biographer, Gail Hornstein, is scheduled to make a presentation at the event.

Peerless Rockville Historic Preservation Ltd. is supported in part by funding from the Montgomery County Government and the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County.

For more information about the event, to learn how to further help preserve the cottage and to purchase tickets, go to https://tinyurl.com/2rsmuem7.

Residents Asked by Metro to Provide Input by Tuesday, Sept. 28, on Proposed Name Change to White Flint Metrorail Station


The area around Metro’s White Flint Metrorail Station has changed, including the dismantling of its namesake White Flint Mall. In keeping with the area’s growing development and identity, the Board of Directors of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA, or Metro) is considering whether to change the name of the station to North Bethesda.

With the White Flint name no longer relevant to the surrounding community, Montgomery County requested the name be changed to North Bethesda Station after consulting with business and community leaders.

Metro's board of directors is responsible for approving or declining requests for station name changes. Metro is seeking public feedback on the proposed name change. The information will be provided to the board for consideration prior to making a decision.

To offer opinions on the proposed name change, Metro has set up a public survey available here. Responses will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 28.

Under Metro's station naming policy, adopted in 2012, the jurisdiction making the name change request must commit to funding the full cost of the change. This would include reprinting maps, fabricating new permanent signs and reprogramming systems that provide electronic information to customers across the 91 stations in the Metrorail system. Montgomery County has secured a combination of State, County and private funding to cover the costs.

Metro’s policy sets the following guidelines for any new station name:
  • Should identify the station locations by geographic features such as landmarks or centers of activity.
  • Should be distinctive and evoke imagery in the mind of the patron.
  • Should be no longer than 19 characters, except for transfer station names, which should be no longer than 13 characters.
Feedback may also be provided at wmata.com/whiteflintsurvey.

County Wins $85,000 ‘Transit Within Reach’ Award to Increase Germantown MARC Station Accessibility

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has won a competitive award of $85,000 from the Transportation Planning Board (TPB) for the preliminary engineering of the Walter Johnson Road shared-use path connection to the Germantown MARC Station. The award comes from TPB’s “Transit Within Reach” program.

The project will complete the preliminary design for a new shared-use path. The project will give people walking and biking from nearby residential and commercial areas a consistent, comfortable and direct connection to the Germantown MARC station. The Germantown station is the highest ridership station in the MARC system, excluding Union Station, on the Brunswick Line. However, the ridership growth is currently constrained by parking availability since most riders arrive by car.

The connection will support growth in ridership by reducing the need for patrons to drive from nearby locations. The award will cover preliminary design plans and a cost estimate for the Walter Johnson Road shared-use path. The projects are scheduled for completion near the end of calendar year 2022.

“Planning for infrastructure today will help travel choices and accessibility tomorrow,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “Our County is growing in population and jobs. Providing the infrastructure that will provide access to public transportation hubs is key to advancing our climate action goals and will help ensure that our communities can support future growth.”

The TPB issued a call in May for projects for the Fiscal Year 2022-23 round of the Transit Within Reach program, which offered up to $85,000 for preliminary design or engineering projects. The call for projects placed a focus on improving walk and bike access to transit. The grants were particularly for Transit Access Focus Areas, access improvements that will increase transit ridership and utilization of available ridership capacity, access for low-income communities and communities of color, collaboration with other agencies or jurisdictions and strategies to advance projects to construction.

The award selection process included a panel of five members. In developing the list of recommended projects for the National Capital Region’s Transportation Planning Board, the panel aimed to equitably allocate funding across the region and the modes of transit. The projects improve walk and bike access to high-capacity transit.

Six total projects were received in response to the solicitation. Montgomery County’s project was one of three selected. The two other recipients were the City of Manassas, which was awarded $74,000, and Prince George’s County, which was awarded $85,000.

“The department is consistently seeking out and applying for award programs to help with infrastructure buildout,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “We know that access to transportation is critical to the County’s economic growth and will allow for increased accessibility, which is one of our top priorities.”

Over the next decade, more than half of the region’s job growth and more than 40 percent of the region’s new households are forecast to be located within a half-mile of high-capacity transit. Yet, even where transit is physically close, it is not necessarily within reach for people who walk and bike due to a lack of safe infrastructure.

Over the last couple of decades, a regional consensus has confirmed the importance of walk and bike access to transit. The region's long-term transportation plan, Visualize 2045, identified “Improving Walk and Bike Access to Transit” as one of seven regional initiatives that can positively affect travel conditions in the future. The award goal is to move small, high-impact projects that improve bike and walk access to transit into preliminary design or preliminary engineering.

108 State-Funded Grants Totaling $3.3 Million, Including 19 ‘High Impact Grants,’ Awarded to Montgomery Nonprofits



The Montgomery County Economic Development Grant Program for Nonprofits has awarded 108 County nonprofits a total of $3.3 million in State funding to help the nonprofits recover from the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis. The program is administered by the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC).

The grants range from $7,500 to $45,000 with a wide variety of missions.

The program included 19 “High Impact Grants,” with awards ranging from $50,000 to $100,000. Those specially selected grants were awarded to nonprofits to carry out particularly impactful work in the economic development and job creation space. The work of the nonprofits includes STEM education, women and minority entrepreneurship, workforce training and support for underserved communities.

“Montgomery County is home to the largest number of nonprofits in Maryland,” said Benjamin H. Wu, president and CEO of MCEDC. “This program recognizes the importance of our local nonprofit community to the economy, not just for the numbers they employ, but also how their individual missions can make an impact in critical economic development areas. We’re pleased to award special High Impact Grants to selected nonprofits to fulfill the potential of their economic development programs. We look forward to working with all of the nonprofit grant recipients to support a rapid economic recovery.”

Three examples of High Impact Grant recipients were:
  • Learning Undefeated’s mobile STEM lab. It will engage Montgomery County Public Schools students in hands-on, experiential STEM learning focused on minority entrepreneurship. The Emerging Leaders program includes hands-on workshops and career-focused sessions that nurture technical skills and support job prospecting for young women of color (ages of 14-22).
  • Housing Unlimited is a Silver Spring-based community nonprofit that provides affordable, independent housing to vulnerable residents in mental health recovery. It also promotes economic development activities in the County. It plans to use the grant monies for homes that need funding for capital improvements, structural repairs, replacement of aging HVAC systems and other expenses including assisting with costs for a new maintenance position.
  • The Red Wiggler Community Farm is a sustainable farm in Germantown where people with and without developmental disabilities come together to work, learn and grow healthy food. The funding will enable the farm to continue to grow its Community Supported Agriculture Program distribution efforts and salaries in an equitable manner. It is on track to accomplish its Fiscal Year 2021 goal of distributing 50 percent of total vegetable yield to neighbors in need through partnering with local food banks, food hubs and pop-up pantries.
The full list of 89 recipients of the Economic Development Grant Program for Nonprofits can be found here and the 19 High Impact Grant awardees here.

The program included two rounds of application submissions and a selection committee review of the applicants. The eight-person selection committee identified qualified recipients for the grant awards and included State Senator Cheryl Kagan and Lesley J. MacDonald, executive director of Nonprofit Montgomery.

To learn more about the MoCo Economic Development Grant Program for Nonprofits, see the grant page at https://thinkmoco.com/covid-19-resources/nonprofits-grant-program.

Funding was provided by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). DHCD appropriated the State funds through the RELIEF Act of 2021 that was approved by the General Assembly and was signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan earlier this year.

The MoCo Economic Development Grant Program for Nonprofits is the latest of multiple business assistance funding administered by MCEDC to support economic recovery from the health crisis. In the past year, MCEDC has provided more than $22 million in direct grant support to businesses for Restaurant Relief (three phases), a Local Production Fund, a Telework Assistance Fund, the 3R Initiative and the MoCo Economic Development Grant Program for Nonprofits.

Nonprofits Can Start Applying for Security Grants Starting Friday, Sept. 24


Montgomery County will begin accepting applications on Friday, Sept. 24, from nonprofit organizations seeking grant funding from the Nonprofit Security Grants program. The County approved $700,000 to be used for nonprofit organizations and facilities that have experienced, or are at high risk of experiencing, hate crimes. These grants are available to augment costs for security personnel or other security planning measures for nonprofit organizations.

The funds are administered by the County’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS). The application period will close on Oct. 22. Organizations will be notified of award decisions in early December.

“Montgomery County is a community of diversity, inclusion and compassion, but we are not immune from hate and vitriol that could become criminal,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “These grants will provide nonprofit organizations with additional resources to enhance the security of their facilities and the safety of our residents. This investment is an affirmation of Montgomery County’s support for our neighbors of every religion, race and ethnicity. We are committed to protect the rights of all our everyone who lives or visits our County and I encourage all applicable Montgomery County organizers to apply for these grants.”

Information sessions on eligibility and how to apply for the program will be offered via a virtual platform on the following dates:
  • Monday, Sept. 27, 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 30, 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 12, 7 p.m.
For more information on the information sessions, to register for one of them or for access to the applications (starting Sept. 24), go to the OEMHS Nonprofit Security Grants webpage at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/oemhs/Non-Profit-Security-Grant.html.

Office of Procurement to Accept Disabled Veteran Certification in MFD Program Starting Friday, Oct. 1


Montgomery County’s Office of Procurement will add the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ “Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business” certification to the County’s Minority, Female and Disabled (MFD) owned business program starting Friday, Oct. 1. The certification allows service-disabled veterans to qualify with a preference under the “disabled” category when competing for County contracts.

The certification for “Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business” is different from the “Veteran Owned” certification.

The new certification will expand the MFD program to accept certifications in the following six categories:
  • Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council (Minority Business Enterprise)
  • City of Baltimore (Minority and Women's Business Opportunity Office)
  • Federal Small Business Administration (8(a) Program)
  • Maryland Department of Transportation (Minority Business Enterprise)
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business)
  • Women's Business Enterprise National Council (Women's Business Enterprise)
“The MFD program had a record-breaking year in FY21, with $200,457,253 (26.86 percent) awarded to certified Minority, Female and Disabled Persons owned businesses,” said Ash Shetty, director of the Office of Procurement. “This is the highest percentage awarded in the past 20 years. In addition, we are pleased to expand our certification categories to include service-disabled Veteran-owned businesses.”

“Montgomery County has made the important decision to include Service-Disabled Veterans as part of their MFD Certification Program.” said Wes Guckert, founder, president and CEO of The Traffic Group, Inc. “As a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business certified by the Small Business Administration/Department of Veterans Affairs, we are thrilled to be able to take advantage of this opportunity to do work for Montgomery County if the opportunity presents itself.”

For questions regarding Montgomery County’s MFD program, contact Alvin Boss at alvin.boss@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Learn more about the MFD program at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/pro.

County Recreation Rolls Out Fall PLAYMontgomery Activities


Montgomery County Recreation has announced the expansion of its dynamic youth sports program PLAYMontgomery. This season’s lineup includes traditional sports, such as lacrosse, soccer and basketball, and non-traditional sports such as rock-climbing and skateboarding.

PLAYMontgomery eliminates socioeconomic disadvantages that often prevent young people from participating in sports. Providing a wider variety of sports opportunities to underserved neighborhoods and subsidizing costs are fundamental to ensuring that underserved youth can access to sports.

PLAYMontgomery Lacrosse will provide a top-notch sporting experience for boys and girls ages 6-13 of all skill levels. Participants will have the opportunity to learn lacrosse skills in a positive and well-organized learning environment provided by some of the County’s best sports providers. Locations include Calverton-Galway Local Park, Good Hope Local Park and Mid County Community Recreation Center Field. The leagues begin the last week of September.

PLAYMontgomery Soccer Leagues include eight regular season games and one practice per week. PLAYMontgomery U10 boys soccer and girls soccer leagues, for fourth and fifth grade students, are played at White Oak Community Recreation Center Field.

PLAYMontgomery U8 boys soccer and girls soccer leagues, for second and third grade students, are played at White Oak Community Recreation Center Field. Soccer leagues begin the last week of September.

On Oct. 8, an early release date for Montgomery County Public Schools, four kids day out programs will be offered from 1:30- 6:30 p.m. Kids Day Out – PLAYMontgomery is offered at the Potomac and Germantown community recreation centers. The activities provide an afternoon of organized activities to help young people stay active and find their game.

Kids Day Out – PLAYMontgomery Basketball Skills and Drills is a basketball skills program to help children of all abilities improve their basketball skills. The coaches are former professional and college athletes who focus on position-specific fundamentals and advanced drill sequences for all phases of the game. The programs are offered at the Jane E. Lawton and Wheaton Community Recreation Centers.

PLAYMontgomery Rock N Roll provides an opportunity for kids ages 8-14 to experience rock climbing, bike riding and skateboarding. The program is offered from 4-6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday beginning Oct. 12 at the White Oak Community Recreation Center.

RecAssist, MCR’s financial assistance program, is available for PLAYMontgomery programs. RecAssist makes financial assistance available to residents who receive public assistance. The RecAssist Fund subsidizes Recreation activity and membership fees so eligible residents pay reduced fees for most recreation services.

Online registration is available at ActiveMONTGOMERY.org, the registration and facility reservation system shared by Montgomery County Recreation, Montgomery Parks and Community Use of Public Facilities.

For more information, call 240-777-6840.

Input Sought by Monday, Nov. 1, on Comprehensive Bus Network Study

Montgomery County is requesting feedback for a new Ride On Reimagined study. The study will determine guiding principles for a comprehensive assessment of the bus network in the County, including County Ride On buses, Metrobus services that operate within the County limits and the future Purple Line. The study’s goal is to provide significant recommended changes to better serve transit users.

Transit services have been operating for more than 40 years in Montgomery County. Over time, route structure and services have grown to include Ride On Extra, Flex on-demand and Flash Rapid Transit. As the County changes in population, demographics, employment centers and housing, a comprehensive evaluation of the system is needed.

“Transportation funding, investment, and project prioritization are critical tools to combat historic inequities,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Transportation services shape our neighborhoods and allow access to jobs and amenities, as well as stimulating economic growth. It is important to connect our communities, support our local businesses, and provide accessibility to those in need. This study will address the County priorities to improve racial equity and address climate change concerns.”

The study will begin this fall and is expected to run for 18-24 months.

“To have an effective transit system that reflects the needs of our riders, we need to hear from all of our community members,” said County Department of Transportation Director Chris Conklin. “This study will shape Montgomery County’s transportation services for years to come. We are asking our riders to help shape the future of our transportation network.”

The County is asking for public comments on the scope of work by Monday, Nov. 1. To access the document online and give feedback, go to https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DOT-Transit/reimagined/.

Residents also can email comments to mcdot.rideonpublicforums@montgomerycountymd.gov. Written comments can be submitted to Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Division of Transit Services, Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street, 5th Floor, Rockville, MD, 20850.

Free Online Workshops for Job Seekers and Entrepreneurs Available in September   


Free online workshops and one-on-one sessions geared toward assisting job seekers and entrepreneurs will be offered throughout September in programs sponsored by Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL).   

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

The programs offered in September will include:   

Throughout September: Every Monday 9:30-11:30 a.m. H.I.R.E. (Helping Individuals Reach Employment) Sessions: Meet virtually and confidentially one-on-one with a career counselor for advice and assistance with your job search. Register at:   
  • Monday, Sept. 27: https://mcpl.libnet.info/event/5512995    
  • Monday, Sept. 27: 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/5514409   
For more information on Montgomery County Public Libraries’ other virtual programs for all ages, visit the MCPL website. To sign up for the MCPL newsletter, visit the subscription page.

Wheaton Revitalization Project Wins ‘Best Sustainable Award’ from the Commercial Real Estate Development Association


The Wheaton Revitalization Project, whose construction was overseen by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT), has been recognized with the “Best Sustainable Award” in the 19th Annual Awards of Excellence of the DC/MD Chapter of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. The award recognizes the project for exemplifying environmentally responsible design.

The Commercial Real Estate Development Association was known as National Association for Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP) prior to 2009. At that time, reflecting changes in membership, the association dropped the words behind its name and simply became known as NAIOP to better reflect its membership composition.

NAIOP is the leading organization for developers, owners and investors of office, industrial, retail and mixed-use real estate. NAIOP comprises more than 19,000 members and provides strong advocacy, education and business opportunities through its North American network.

The Awards of Excellence program was held virtually on Sept. 13. All awards were based on a system of nominations and peer selection.

The Best Sustainable Award category highlighted outstanding new construction or renovation projects that incorporate sustainable solutions resulting in an environmentally efficient and economically successful property.

“We take great pride in our innovative efforts to combat climate change,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “Receiving the Best Sustainable Award is a testament to the emphasis the County places on preserving the environment and working toward our aggressive climate action goals.”

The Wheaton Revitalization Project, which included a 14-story office building in downtown Wheaton that became the new headquarters of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and several Montgomery County departments, also was recognized recently with a Merit Award from Engineering News-Record (ENR) MidAtlantic. In that competition, it was selected in the category of “Government Public Building.”

The office building was dedicated in October 2020. It is now home to the County’s Department of Permitting Services, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Recreation, Office of Community Use of Public Facilities and Mid-County Regional Services Office.

“This project is getting a lot of attention,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “This is a great way to celebrate the Wheaton Revitalization Project’s one-year anniversary.”

The project broke ground in June 2017 and was completed in September 2020. The County envisioned that the project would spur economic development in the Wheaton Central Business District and provide a centralized location for government services within a short walk to the Wheaton Metro Station.

MCDOT led the development and construction of the new Wheaton Revitalization Project—one of the largest projects ever built by the County. Construction took 39 months and cost about $179 million. It was completed on time and within budget.

“I am very proud that MCDOT has played a pivotal role in creating this smart-growth, environmentally friendly development,” said MCDOT Director Conklin. “This project has set a new sustainable design standard for public facilities in Montgomery County. The office building is the first government-owned office building in Maryland to achieve the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).”

LEED is the highest certification available by USGBC. LEED projects earn points across nine basic areas that address key aspects of green buildings including water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, location and transportation and energy and atmosphere.

In addition to the 308,000-square-foot office building, the Wheaton Revitalization Project includes ground-floor retail and plaza spaces, a new town square adjacent to the building that will host public events and a four-level below-grade public parking structure.

For the complete list of awards in the NAIOP Awards of Excellence, click here.

September 16, 2021

Message from the County Executive



Dear Friends:

This was a sad week in Montgomery County. We lost Montgomery County Board of Education Member Patricia O’Neill. She was the longest serving member of the Board and her love of our children and her commitment to the constituents she served was remarkable. My thoughts and sympathies go out to the family and friends of as well everyone in our Montgomery County Public Schools community. We are flying flags at half-staff this week to honor her legacy. To read more community reflections on Pat O’Neill, click on this article in Bethesda Beat.

Covid-19 Rates and Students

Our Covid-19 cases remain at the level of “substantial transmission,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, Maryland has seen an overall a decrease in cases as compared to last week, which is good news. Our COVID-19 testing volumes continue to trend up, which is not a surprise as many families are on increased vigilance now that children are back in school.

Statewide, schools are now tied with nursing homes for total active outbreaks, and schools lead with the number of active cases tied to outbreaks. According to the American Association of Pediatrics, there has been a 230 percent increase nationwide among children. Children now make up 29 percent of all new COVID cases nationwide (27 percent in Maryland and 28 percent in Montgomery County).

MCPS has started rapid testing in schools, which is great news. This will reduce the number of students who will have to quarantine. Additionally, MCPS has reduced the number of “close contacts” required to quarantine while awaiting test results. As I noted last week, this school year is particularly challenging and will require patience, understanding and improvisation. I was an elementary school teacher and understand these challenges with contacts, especially with younger kids. I am very appreciative that the schools have responded initially with an abundance of caution.

Since many kids are being exposed to more germs than they have over the past 18 months, they are also going to be more susceptible to common cold and illnesses. Similar symptoms can be confusing to identify. Identifying close contacts for contact tracing may be difficult at the beginning of the school year, especially as the students are masked and new to teachers.

I appreciate all the work by the school staff—this is an incredible undertaking and I have been impressed by their efforts and adaptations. As County Government, we will continue to work with and support testing and COVID mitigation efforts within MCPS. To view all MCPS COVID-19 information, including its COVID-19 dashboard, go to https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/coronavirus/.

Vaccination Progress

Montgomery County continues to have the highest vaccination rate in the country for all jurisdictions with more than 300,000 people. Of the eligible population—those who are 12 or older—88 percent are fully vaccinated and 96.5 percent of the eligible population has at least one dose.

This means we are only 3.5 percentage points of having 100 percent of our entire eligible population with at least one dose of the vaccine. We have come a very long way over a few short months. I am also pleased that our 65-and-over population is now more than 95 percent fully vaccinated. This is a population we prioritized when vaccines first became available and it has paid off. We have also vaccinated 439 immunocompromised residents with third doses.

As a result of our equity, communication and outreach efforts, I am pleased that our Black residents are only 3 percent below the White population in terms of vaccination rate. This gap was once as high as 18 percent.

This week, Maryland Department of Health and Live Chair Health are partnering with the Afrikutz Barber & Beauty Shop in Silver Spring to provide equitable access to vaccines through barbershops and salons. The “Haircuts For Health: Getting Beyond COVID” event is a statewide effort to support equitable and convenient access to COVID-19 vaccines for vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities. The first 30 visitors who received a COVID-19 vaccine also will receive a free haircut. Here is a Washington Post story from earlier this year that describes how important these engagements are: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/05/30/barbershop-coronavirus-vaccines/.

Hispanic Heritage Month

This week Hispanic Heritage Month begins, I encourage everyone to learn the history and customs of all of our Latino communities, enjoy the cultural events and appreciate the contributions to our County’s past, present and future over the next month. Our Latino brothers and sisters are a critical and vibrant part of every neighborhood, every industry and throughout our County government.

We are proud to be home to multiple generations of immigrants from every Latin American nation. According to the 2020 Census, the Latino population in Montgomery County increased by 31.4 percent since 2010, making Latinos now 20.5 percent of the County’s total population. Montgomery County is the No. 2 destination among all U.S. counties for immigrants from Bolivia and the No. 3 destination immigrants from El Salvador.

I enjoyed kicking off Hispanic Heritage Month this past Sunday at the 16th Annual Festival (Salvadoran Independence Day Festival). I also was a guest on the County’s long-standing Spanish language radio show, “Montgomery al Día.” You can listen to the interview here.

Cesar Chavez once said, "Preservation of one's own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures." In Montgomery County, we celebrate all cultures and are inclusionary of all races, religions and ethnicities. Our community’s commitment to equity and diversity exists more than just a celebratory week or month. It exists every day of the year.

Welcoming Week

Although we appreciate our diversity every day, this week, we are celebrating “Welcoming Week.” The annual campaign started in 2012 by Welcoming America showcases efforts by communities across the United States to be welcoming places for all, including newly arriving families and children.

During these unprecedented times due to the COVID health crisis and deep divisions within our nation, we are pleased to be a county and a community of compassion and inclusion. We are welcoming to those seeking temporary refuge or a permanent home. Welcoming Week epitomizes our commitment to all of our residents. We welcome and understand that new residents, along with long-time residents, are a vital part of our community. They bring ideas, start businesses, serve in civic roles, work in critical industries and contribute to the vibrant diversity that we value.

The Montgomery County Welcoming Committee is made up of participating organizations such as Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, the Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy (MCAEL), the Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center, Community Reach of Montgomery County, Identity, English Now!, the Washington Center for International Education and Silver Spring-based CHEER (Community Health and Empowerment through Education and Research). I thank them for their efforts. Please join this conversation by using the hashtag #MoCoWeWelcome.

Property Tax Credit Program

We are working to make sure low-income homeowners are aware of the Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit program. You can read more about it here. The deadline to apply is Oct. 1. To qualify for the tax credit program, applicants must own their primary residence and have a gross household income of less than $60,000 annually. According to the State website, the credit is based on how much property taxes exceed a percentage of a household’s income.

Weekend Events

Looking for something to do this weekend? Check out one of the largest Electric Vehicle Car Shows in the nation at Poolesville Day and the National Drive Electric Poolesville Day event on Saturday. Television station Fox 5 did a “Field Trip” preview of this exciting event.

On Sunday, swing by the annual Wheaton Arts Parade & Festival. Artists, friends, neighbors and community groups will "Parade the Triangle" through Wheaton's town center to our new town plaza on Reedie Drive. You can even participate. According to the organizers: “Make some art and join the parade. Just push, pull, carry, wear or perform your art! If you have not registered, you still can walk with us if you get to the assembly area with your art by 9 a.m. on Sunday.” For more information about the Wheaton Arts Parade & Festival, go to https://www.wheatonartsparade.org/.

I will be at these events this weekend. Please feel free to come up and say hello.

As always thank you for your support.



Marc Elrich

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 from the State of Maryland during the health crisis. Among the information available is how many positive cases have been reported in each zip code in the County.  

For more information about the positive cases reported in the County by zip codes, visit the COVID-19 data dashboard at https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/data/.

Other breakdowns on the COVID-19 information portal include:         

State Highway Administration Turns on Ramp Metering Signals at 18 Interchanges Along Southbound I-270

 

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) has fully activated new ramp meters on 23 ramps to southbound I-270 in Montgomery and Frederick counties. The state agency said ramp metering is a part of the I-270 Innovative Congestion Management (ICM) project to help improve safety, reduce congestion and save drivers up to 30 minutes on morning commutes between Frederick and I-495 (Capital Beltway). 

This is the first system of its kind to be implemented in Maryland. 

Ramp metering uses traffic signals and sensors to manage traffic flow entering the highway.  MDOT SHA said the system will balance highway demand and capacity, maintain optimal highway operation and reduce congestion. The ramp metering signals will have the capability to operate between 4 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily and are anticipated to be active during peak traffic hours and when I-270 experiences traffic congestion. 

Signals at the end of the ramps have been flashing yellow for about a month to alert motorists that activation of ramp metering is coming. When ramp metering is in full operation, motorists will see a warning sign with flashing beacons and should slow down, watch for queued vehicles and be prepared to stop at the stop line just prior to the highway entrance. Once the signal turns green, a driver may proceed and merge onto the highway. When ramp metering is not in operation, beacons will be dark and the traffic signals will flash yellow, allowing motorists to proceed without stopping. 

Motorists are advised to use caution and reduce their speeds approaching the traffic signal, as there may be stopped vehicles waiting to merge onto the highway. The system also detects the length of vehicles in queue to help ensure ramps do not back up onto arterial roadways. 

For more information and to view a location map and ramp metering video, go to https://mdot-sha-i270-i70-to-i495-inno-cong-mgmt-mo0695172-maryland.hub.arcgis.com/.

While a first for Maryland, MDOT SHA said that ramp meters have been used elsewhere as a proven, cost-effective tool to help improve safety and efficiency and reduce congestion. Ramp metering is one piece of the I-270 ICM Project that Governor Larry Hogan announced in 2016 to provide congestion relief and improve travel times throughout the 34.4-mile I-270 corridor from I-70 to I-495.  

Annual Poolesville Day on Saturday, Sept. 18, Will Include Poolesville Green’s Electric Vehicle Show That Will Be One of Nation’s Largest for ‘National Drive Electric Week’

The annual Poolesville Day on Saturday, Sept. 18, will include Poolesville Green’s display of more than 200 electric vehicles. The electric vehicle show from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. is expected to be one of that nation’s biggest events for 2021 “National Drive Electric Week.”

National Drive Electric Week, from Sept. 25-Oct. 3, is a nationwide celebration to raise awareness of the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars, trucks, motorcycles, 

The Poolesville Green event, featuring vehicles of all types including motorcycles, will be staged in a parking lot at 19950 Fisher Ave. All attendees and volunteers will be required to wear face masks whenever they are within six feet of another person.

Vehicles expected to be on display at the event include those from Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler Pacifica, Energica, Fisker Karma, Ford, Honda Clarity, Hyundai Kona, Ionig, Jaguar, Kia, Nissan, Polestar, Porsche, Tesla, Volkswagon and Zero Motorcycles.

Vehicle owners will be available to discuss their experiences as owners of electric vehicles. Representatives from manufacturers and dealerships also will be available to talk about the future of electric vehicles.

More information about the Poolesville Green event can be found at https://driveelectricweek.org/event?eventid=2620.

Wheaton Arts Parade & Festival to be Held on Sunday, Sept. 19, With Marian Fryer Town Plaza as Main Site 

The Wheaton Arts Parade & Festival returns to the streets of Wheaton on Sunday, Sept. 19. For the first time, the festivities will take place in the new Marian Fryer Town Plaza that is part of the Wheaton Revitalization Project on Reedie Drive in Downtown Wheaton. 

As in the past, the Wheaton Arts Parade will celebrate the artistic and cultural diversity of the community. Last year’s event was limited due to the COVID-19 health crisis. This year’s outdoor event will ask attendees to follow guidelines to wear masks and observe safe social distancing when situations warrant.   

The parade will start at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Grandview and Ennalls avenues. It will move down Georgia Avenue, around the Wheaton Triangle Business District and will end at the festival site on the town plaza above the Wheaton Metro Station.  

A map of the parade route can be found at https://www.wheatonartsparade.org/parade2021. The festival will run from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. It will be held regardless of weather conditions. 

Everyone can be an artist and join the parade—as long as they push, pull, carry, wear or perform art. There are no motor vehicles, but more than 15 large floats, some old favorites and three expected new ones: a rainbow hummingbird, a black Labrador and a 12-foot-tall colorful tree made from nonrecyclable plastics. The parade will walk to the beat of marching bands, bag pipes and jazz.  

The celebration will continue at the festival with 45 tents of original art for sale and three stages of continuous performances from noon-5 p.m. featuring some of Montgomery County’s top talent. Expected performers include the legendary Nighthawks, Strathmore artists Christylez Bacon and Becky Hill and the Trey Sorrells Jazz Ensemble. Olney Theatre’s National Players will provide a sneak peak of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”  

The festival will showcase performances by Einstein High School’s Visual and Performing Arts Academy, plus local dance groups like Urban Artistry, the Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance and Wheaton Studio of Dance. 

Additional music will be provided by the Six Degree Singers, the Bog Band, Roadside Attraction and other local musicians.  

Food will be available from Wheaton’s award-winning restaurants and delis. Beer will be available from AstroLab and True Respite brewing companies in the Beer Garden.  

Art exhibits will include the works of more than 40 individual artists and exhibits from the Montgomery Art Association, the Washington Watercolor Association, the Capitol Hill Art League, Gallery 209 and the Wheaton Arts Parade Gallery.  

Family fun will include balloon art, street chalk art, face painting and displays of art making fun.  

A map of the festival tents and the program of entertainment on each stage can be found at https://www.wheatonartsparade.org/festival2021. 

Wheaton is one of three Maryland Arts and Entertainment Districts in Montgomery County. The mission of the Wheaton Arts Parade is to bring the community together with art. The parade and festival are sponsored in part by the Montgomery County Government, the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Montgomery Parks and Planning, the County Department of Environmental Protection, Montgomery County Recreation, Montgomery Parks, Greenhill Properties, Westfield Wheaton, the Maryland State Arts Council and numerous local businesses and community organizations. 

For more information on the parade and festival, visit https://www.wheatonartsparade.org/wapf2021. 



  

Eighth Annual Free Friendship Picnic Returns to Wheaton Regional Park on Sunday, Sept. 19


The Montgomery County Committee Against Hate and Violence will host the eighth Montgomery County Friendship Picnic from noon-5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 19, at Wheaton Regional Park The free event brings people of diverse cultures and faiths together to make new friends and discuss ways to build a stronger community.

Wheaton Regional Park is located at 2000 Shorefield Road in Wheaton.

All are welcome to the celebration that will include traditional, Kosher, Halal and vegetarian lunch options. There will be a wide range of activities for children and adults including musical performances, train rides, carousel, Zumba, COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

In addition to the recreation activities, there will be opportunities for small group conversations on how to move toward a nonviolent community peaceably and respectfully. Everyone’s thoughts are valued, and all will be heard.

Event sponsors include the Montgomery County Human Rights Commission, the Montgomery County Office of Community Partnerships, the Montgomery County Executive’s Faith Community Working Group, Montgomery Parks, the Montgomery County Police, the County Fire and Rescue Service and the Department of Health and Human Services’ African American Health Program 

While the event is free, registration is strongly encouraged. Register by clicking here. The event will follow all COVID-19 protocols in place in Montgomery County. For more information, call 240-777-8450 or visit the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights website.

Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month Will Include Events Throughout the County



Montgomery County will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month--Sept. 15 through Oct. 15—with a series of events recognizing several Latino and other immigrant-serving community partners. The free recognition events are being co-hosted by the County Executive’s Office of Community Partnerships in collaboration with the County’s regional services centers.

Throughout the month, County Executive Marc Elrich will be thanking the County’s community partners, businesses and other committed stakeholders. He will be presenting citations of recognition to individuals and organizations that continue to collaborate with County Government and assist County residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many of the successes of Montgomery County are due to the diversity of our communities, and this is a quality we celebrate every day of the year,” said County Executive Elrich. “We are proud to be the home to multiple generations of immigrants from every Latin American nation. Our Latino brothers and sisters are a critical and vibrant part of every neighborhood, every industry, and throughout our County government. As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, I encourage everyone to learn the history and customs of our Latino communities, enjoy the cultural events and appreciate the contributions to our County’s past, present and future.”

Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the history, culture and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States. According to the 2020 Census, the Latino population in Montgomery County increased by 31.4 percent since 2010, making Hispanics or Latinos 20.5 percent (217,409 of the County’s total population). Montgomery County is the No. 2 destination among all U.S. counties for immigrants from Bolivia and the No. 3 destination for immigrants from El Salvador.

The calendar of events celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in collaboration with the regional services centers will include:
  • Friday, Sept. 24. 5:30 p.m. El Golfo Restaurant, 8739 Flower Ave., Silver Spring.
  • Friday, Oct. 8. 6 p.m. Upcounty Regional Services Center welcomes the Germantown Hub.Ribbon-cutting ceremony and concert, 12900 Middlebrook Road, Germantown.
  • Friday, Oct. Time TBD. Marian Fryer Plaza in Downtown Wheaton, adjacent to the new offices of the Mid-County Regional Services Center. 2425 Reedie Drive, Wheaton.
County Executive Elrich kicked-off Hispanic Heritage Month on Sept. 12 by addressing attendees at the 16th Annual Festival Salvadoreñísimo de Independencia (Salvadoran Independence Day Festival) and on Sept. 14 as a guest on the County’s long-standing Spanish language radio show “Montgomery al Día.” Montgomery al Día airs live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. on Radio America 900AM. The entire episode can be vieweed at https://www.facebook.com/America900am/videos/389715989394853