September 30, 2021

Message from the County Executive 

Dear Friends,

One of the greatest joys I have as County Executive is travelling throughout Montgomery County, talking – sometimes virtually – to residents, meeting business owners, and getting to hear about the issues, complaints, problems, as well as compliments.

Hispanic Heritage Month

Last Friday, I joined residents, business owners, and community-based organizations in Silver Spring in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month. At a Latina-owned establishment, we highlighted honorees' contributions to Long Branch and the broader Silver Spring region throughout the pandemic. It was an evening of uplifting stories and a testimony to how this County has united and persevered over the last 20 months. We will continue to honor and pay tribute to our Latino community throughout Hispanic Heritage Month, which ends on Oct. 15.

African Heritage Month

Earlier this month, we proclaimed September as African Heritage Month, which we have celebrated in various venues around the county. We are home to more than 54,000 Africans, who make up 15 percent of the overall immigrant population. Montgomery County has a wonderfully diverse African immigrant community that is part of the diverse tapestry of cultures from every corner of our world that call Montgomery County, "home." Our African brothers and sisters own businesses, teach our children, serve in our government, and are engaged residents throughout our neighborhoods.

Our young people are engaging in climate change issues

I was delighted to participate in a panel Wednesday night to hear from and talk with high school students from all over the County who are part of a group called, "SAPPlings" (Student Advocates Protecting the Planet). SAPPlings was created by and for high school students in Montgomery County. I loved engaging with these energetic and active students; they understand that it’s their generation that is facing the gravest consequences if we don’t take meaningful steps to address climate change immediately and comprehensively. You can watch the event here.

As a reminder, you can read about our Climate Action Plan here. I am pleased that the County Council approved our proposal for the International Green Construction Code, which requires that new buildings use less energy, generate more renewable energy, and create healthy spaces for our residents. We also sent over Building Energy Performance Standard (BEPS) legislation that will require owners of the largest and most energy-consuming buildings to take action to improve their buildings’ energy performances. We continue our work to increase the availability of transit, including electric-powered buses, electric vehicles for our police fleet, and additional solar energy on both public and private sites.

Better numbers regarding COVID-19 transmission

I am glad that we are starting to see some good trends as this latest wave of cases over the summer due to the delta variant has begun to plateau and subside. Our test positivity rate and case rates are the best in the state and our case rate is almost half of the state’s overall average. We are now hovering between substantial and low transmission rates in Montgomery County, which is good news. And 98 percent of our eligible population (those who are 12 and older) has received at least one dose.

However, this pandemic is far from over. The vaccines have helped to reduce deaths and hospitalizations, but the virus continues to spread. Our case rates this week are about where they were at the end of February after last winter’s surge – that was a time when vaccines were scarce, and we were spending most of time indoors. When we look at who is becoming significantly ill and hospitalized it is predominantly those over the age of 50. We hope that boosters may help with immunity response. Last week, the CDC recommended certain populations receive a booster shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine at least six months after being fully vaccinated. Those include people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings, people aged 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions, and people 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditions or are at increased risk for COVID-19. 

We are currently engaged in an effort to determine how many of our employees are not yet vaccinated. While the vast majority are vaccinated, we do not yet have all employees reporting their status and are working to get that information. While some are advocating for a vaccine mandate for all county employees, I am not yet ready to embrace that strategy because it will lead to staffing shortages, diminished public safety, additional financial costs to our taxpayers, and time-consuming legal entanglements. You can read my statement here.

And you can read about the issue here.

Fewer quarantines for MCPS students

I am happy to report that the number of students in quarantine has declined due to rapid testing and revised procedures. During the first week of school, over 2000 individuals in MCPS were quarantined; last week it was 374. This is incredible progress. And the low 1.3 positivity rate is lower than the general community rate. I appreciate all the work of MCPS staff, school health staff, and others over this first month of school. Managing this situation in our classrooms while also returning to in-class learning has been an enormous challenge, but everyone has adjusted quickly and adeptly. There are going to be tough times ahead as colder weather means more time indoors. We are going to need patience and partnerships with everyone as we focus on ensuring that our students get the education they deserve. I am concerned about the recent learning loss data that MCPS published. We must work hard to get these kids caught up, but as safely as possible for them and their families.

Our COVID success is due to the hard work of thousands of Montgomery County employees. One of our County’s COVID leaders, Dr. Earl Stoddard was unanimously confirmed by the County Council to be our new Assistant Chief Administrative Officer focusing on our health and public safety operations. Dr. Stoddard has been a key figure during the County’s response to the COVID-19 efforts, serving as the Director of the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security. I have appreciated his advice and we’re fortunate that he accepted these increased responsibilities.

Supporting our small businesses

This week, the Council overrode my veto of legislation to create a Silver Spring Business Improvement District or “BID.” I vetoed this legislation at the request of small business owners, minority business owners, the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board, Fenton Village Inc., the Maryland Black Chamber of Commerce, and the African Advisory Board among others. As I wrote in my veto message, downtown Silver Spring offers much of what is best about Montgomery County but it also has problems that we can and should address. The BID “shifts the power of public district decision-making from a stakeholder group representing diverse culture and income backgrounds to a stakeholder group that predominantly represents the interests of medium and large businesses,” according to the Council’s own Racial Equity and Social Justice impact statement.

I had sent the Council an alternative proposal that would have created an independent structure that reflected the diversity of Silver Spring – large and small business owners and property owners as well as residents. We have a similar, successful model in Bethesda, the Bethesda Urban Partnership. I was disappointed that the Council did not even consider this alternative, which addressed the concerns raised by small business owners, residents, and elected state leaders.

I appreciate Councilmember Will Jawando for supporting the veto and for explaining the importance of moving forward to address these problems together rather than using a flawed approach. It is my hope that going forward we will find a more equitable way to give voice to the diversity of the Silver Spring community.

A good place for your bikes!

Another important event next Friday, Oct. 8, is the Montgomery County Department of Transportation bicycle donation event for kids and adults in need. MCDOT will be collecting bikes from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m., outside of the Council Office Building parking garage at the corner of East Jefferson Street and Monroe Street in Rockville. Donated child and adult bikes will be accepted; however, the drive will not accept bike parts or bike helmets. Bikes are good for exercise as well as an efficient, sustainable transportation method, but unfortunately, many of our fellow residents cannot afford to own their own bikes. We were unable to collect donated bikes last year due to the pandemic and our demand for bikes is great. If you have a bike that is sitting around collecting dust or if you are buying a new one, please donate your bikes to MCDOT next Friday.

As always, my appreciation to all of you.

Marc Elrich
County Executive

County Executive Elrich Supports ‘Fare Equity Study’ Recommendations to Benefit Riders and Extend Free Fares for Ride On Buses Through Jan. 1

Montgomery County Ride On bus fares will remain free through Jan. 1 following a recommendation by County Executive Marc Elrich that was approved this week by the County Council. County Executive Elrich has supported using the period to look at the “Fare Equity Study” conducted by the County Department of Transportation (MCDOT).

Like most other regional bus services, MCDOT temporarily instituted free fares with the onset of the COVID-19 health crisis. However, when many other transit agencies in the region resumed fare collection, Ride On continued its “fare holiday” to extend free service.

The Fare Equity Study examined potential fare scenarios in comparison to reimplementing the pre-existing $2 bus fare. The study’s recommendations are based on how fares would impact low-income and economically vulnerable residents, reduce barriers to access transit and improve overall ridership long-term.

Based on the findings of the study, County Executive Elrich is recommending that the Council implement a reduced standard fee to $1 and retain fare-free programs such as Kids Ride Free and Seniors and Persons with Disabilities Ride Free. The study recommends the balance of benefits and costs, with benefits primarily accruing to the populations the County is hoping to support.

“Equitable transit access is at the forefront of everything we do,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “We appreciate that the County Executive and Council have taken the time to allow for a thorough review of impacts before making a long-term decision on bus fare.”

On Sept. 23, the board of directors of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA, or Metro) discussed a reduced fare policy for its operations, including consideration of a $1 fare for Metrobuses.

County Executive Elrich said transit authorities must consider potential revised policies to best serve riders on a regional level.

“Reducing Ride On fares helps our low- and fixed-income residents who often must travel by transit; it helps address equity gaps and supports public transit, which is good for our environment,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “This County is too expensive to afford for those who don’t earn a lot - we must keep transportation costs for these residents to a minimum. I support a $1 standard fare while retaining our fare-free programs such as Kids Ride Free and Seniors Ride Free, which also includes members of our disabled community. This approach balances benefits and costs, and these benefits primarily accrue for populations we want to support.”
While instating a $1 fare is a recommendation for immediate action, MCDOT was advised by WMATA that the actual implementation of a changed fare requires a minimum of 60 days to take effect in the Smartrip system. The timing restrictions place the earliest possible new fare around Jan. 1. If the $1 fare is adopted by January, implementation would allow for needed system changes and rider notification.

The study has been posted online at,

September 29, 2021

County Health Officials Urge Residents to Get a Flu Shot; Vaccination Clinic Dates Announced

Montgomery County health officials are urging residents to get a flu vaccination and will hold clinics for adults and children in October and November. While getting a flu vaccination does not protect against COVID-19, flu shots have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Getting a flu vaccination also can save health care resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.

Seasonal flu vaccinations are available through private health providers, as well as at retail locations throughout the community. County-sponsored seasonal flu vaccination clinics will include clinics for residents 14-and-over and two clinics specifically for children ages six months to 18 years of age. The County will offer flu shots only. High-dose flu vaccine and FluMist will not be available.

Appointments are recommended, but walk-ins are welcome. Anyone not wanting to get the flu should receive the seasonal flu vaccination, particularly the elderly, household members living with children younger than six months of age, health care workers and individuals with chronic illnesses.

County-sponsored clinics providing flu vaccinations can be found at:
  • Friday, Oct. 15. 2-6 p.m. Universities at Shady Grove, 9630 Gudelsky Drive, Building II, Rockville. Make an appointment.
  • Friday, Oct. 22. 2-6 p.m. Universities at Shady Grove, 9630 Gudelsky Drive, Building II, Rockville. Make an appointment.
Paid visitor parking is available in the Traville Gateway Garage or Shady Grove Garage. See parking map for more information. The clinic is a partnership between Montgomery County Health and Human Services and the University of Maryland System.

Two flu clinics are available for children six months and older only. Appointments are recommended but walk-ins are welcome. Additional flu clinics for children will be announced later.
  • Saturday, Nov. 6. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Dennis Avenue Health Center, 2000 Dennis Ave., Silver Spring. Make an appointment.
  • Saturday, Nov. 13. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Dennis Avenue Health Center, 2000 Dennis Ave., Silver Spring. Make an appointment.
The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits can often help stop the spread of germs and prevent illnesses like the flu. Good health habits include:
  • Always cover cough or sneeze with a tissue—then throw the tissue away or cough or sneeze into the inside of the elbow.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze and before you eat. Alcohol hand sanitizer (minimum 60 percent alcohol) will help if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose, or mouth. These are places germs can enter the body easily.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.
  • Monitor yourself and your family for symptoms of fever which include chills, headache, sore throat, cough, body aches, and vomiting or diarrhea.
  • If you are sick, stay home from work, school, or other public places until you are feeling well.
See the County’s flu website for more information.

County Providing Free Taxi Service to COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing for Residents 65-and-Over and Residents with Disabilities

Taxicab companies operating in Montgomery County (Action, Anytime and Regency/Barwood) can provide roundtrip transportation to residents 65-and-over and residents with disabilities to COVID-19 vaccination and testing locations at no cost to the rider. The Montgomery County Department of Transportation will reimburse the taxi companies for the trips.

To schedule a trip:
  • Call Connect-A-Ride at 301-738-3252 and provide your name, address, phone number and age to receive a “Free COVID-19 Taxi Code.”
  • Then, call one of the Taxicab companies listed below and provide the following:
    • Your “Free COVID-19 Taxi Code.”
    • Name, phone number and trip information: date, time, location of trip origin and destination
At the end of each trip, the rider will sign a trip voucher.

Drivers and riders must wear face coverings for the duration of the trip.

The taxicab providers who are available to provide transportation to COVID-19 vaccination and testing locations:
  • Action Taxi: 301-840-1000
  • Anytime Taxi: 301-637-9292
  • Regency/Barwood Taxi: 301-990-9000 or 301-984-1900

County Executive Elrich to Hold Five Hybrid Forums to Seek Input on FY 2023 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 hybrid 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 operating budget will go into effect on July 1.

“The budget is a primary indicator of the priorities of any jurisdiction,” said County Executive Elrich. “This is why community and resident involvement is essential to the process of developing a budget that reflects our values and goals. Last year the sessions were totally virtual and this year they will be a hybrid of in-person and virtual. The objective is the make these forums more accessible and interactive. I encourage residents to participate in these discussions because they are for you. No matter where you live or your age, I want to hear from as many people as possible. We have been fortunate to maintain a very strong financial position throughout the pandemic, which has enabled us to continue to support programs and services that are important to residents.”
The schedule for the hybrid forums, including how to join each one virtually:

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  

Other breakdowns on the COVID-19 information portal include:           


Fall Will Be Filled with Special Events from Montgomery Parks

Fall will be filled with special events from Montgomery Parks. The wide range of events will include festive fare at Pumpkins & Pours, riding on the Halloween Eye Spy Trains and experiencing Fall on the Farm. As Halloween nears, costumes can be displayed at spooktacular activities at the Halloween 5K Haunted Hustle or Nightmare on Elm Street.

The fall special events calendar for Montgomery Parks includes:
  • Halloween Eye Spy Trains. Weekends in October at Cabin John and Wheaton regional parks. Come dressed in costume or just as you are and take a ride on miniature trains at Cabin John Regional Park and Wheaton Regional Park. Each rider can activate an online Halloween-themed “Eye Spy Train Card” by scanning a QR code at the station. Advanced tickets are encouraged and can be purchased online at Active Montgomery.
  • Fall on the Farm. Saturday, Oct. 16. Agricultural History Farm Park, Derwood. Free. Learn how a farm family would historically have gotten ready for the long, cold winter ahead, including making candles and soap, patching up buildings in preparation for the cold and preserving food to ensure proper eating through the spring. Advanced registration available, but not required. Event includes additional pay-as-you-go activities and food offerings.
  • Pumpkins & Pours. Saturday, Oct. 16 | Western Grove Urban Park, Chevy Chase. Montgomery Parks and Chevy Chase Village present a day of family fun. Enjoy lawn games and pick up a free pumpkin to decorate. Craft beer from local brewery 7 Locks Brewing and food from Flame and Cones Food Truck will be available for purchase. Free admission, no registration required.
  • Halloween 5K Haunted Hustle. Saturday, Oct.23. Black Hill Regional Park, Boyds. Get spooky and sporty at the Haunted Hustle. Walk or jog the 2.7-mile trail loop and collect fun Halloween giveaways along the way. Fall-flavored treats such as candy apples and warm apple cider donuts will be available for purchase. Advanced registration available, but not required.
  • Nightmare on Elm Street. Saturday, Oct. 30. Elm Street Urban Park, Bethesda. Free. Dress in costume and have some spooky fun at Elm Street Urban Park. There will be a costume parade, scavenger hunt and lawn games. Halloween music, decorations and photo ops will provide the holiday spirit. Food from O’Boy Pizza and Ice Cream will be available to purchase. No registration required.
Visit for a complete list of special events and programming.  


Public Libraries and County Department of Environmental Protection Celebrate Energy Action Month in October by Offering Bulb Exchanges

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection and Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) will join together to celebrate October as Energy Action Month by offering the opportunity to exchange inefficient light bulbs for energy-efficient ones. Bulb exchange events are scheduled at 19 County libraries.

Energy Action Month is an opportunity to for residents to take proactive steps to lower their energy usage and their utility bills. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, lighting consumes 10 percent of the total electricity used in homes.

The light bulb exchange program offers an opportunity for residents to lower their utility costs by switching to more energy-efficient LED (light emitting diodes) bulbs. Replacing just five of the most frequently used light fixtures with energy-efficient bulbs can save more than $65 a year in energy costs.

Compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs use one-third of the electricity, and last up to 10 times longer, than incandescent light bulbs. However, they also contain a small amount of mercury and should be handled carefully and always disposed of properly.

The County’s light bulb exchanges will give residents an opportunity to recycle the older bulbs the right way and lower their energy costs at the same time.

Residents can bring their old incandescent and used CFL light bulbs to the following MCPL branches in exchange for new LEDs. There is a limit of three bulbs per family at each event:
  • Aspen Hill, 4407 Aspen Hill Road, Rockville – Friday, Oct. 1, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Chevy Chase, 8005 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase – Saturday, Oct. 9, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Connie Morella (Bethesda), 7400 Arlington Road, Bethesda - Tuesday, Oct. 12, 1-3 p.m.
  • Damascus, 9701 Main Street, Damascus – Wednesday, Oct. 13, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Davis (North Bethesda), 6400 Democracy Blvd, Bethesda – Thursday, Oct. 14, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Gaithersburg, 18330 Montgomery Village Ave., Gaithersburg – Friday, Oct. 15, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Kensington Park, 4201 Knowles Ave., Kensington – Saturday, Oct. 16, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Little Falls, 5501 Massachusetts Ave., Bethesda – Monday, Oct. 18, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Long Branch, 8800 Garland Ave., Silver Spring – Tuesday, Oct. 19, 1-3 p.m.
  • Marilyn J. Praisner (Burtonsville), 14910 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville – Wednesday, Oct. 20, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Noyes Library for Young Children, 10237 Carroll Place, Kensington – Thursday, Oct. 21, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Olney, 3500 Olney-Laytonsville Rd., Olney – Friday, Oct. 22, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Potomac, 10101 Glenolden Drive, Potomac – Saturday, Oct. 23, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Quince Orchard, 15831 Quince Orchard Road, Gaithersburg – Monday, Oct. 25, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Rockville Memorial, 21 Maryland Ave., Rockville – Tuesday, Oct. 26, 1-3 p.m.
  • Silver Spring, 900 Wayne Ave., Silver Spring – Wednesday, Oct. 27, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Twinbrook, 202 Meadow Hall Drive, Rockville - Thursday, Oct. 28, 1-3 p.m.
  • Wheaton, 11701 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring – Friday, Oct. 29, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • White Oak, 11701 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring – Saturday, Oct. 30, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
For more information on lowering utility costs, visit

Montgomery Parks Program on ‘Go, Grow, Get Active’ for Those 50-and-Over Will Be Featured Topic on New Episode of ‘What’s Happening MoCo’ Podcast

Montgomery Parks will host the fourth annual “Go, Grow, Get Active” senior wellness event at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton on Wednesday, Oct. 6. The latest episode of the “What’s Happening MoCo” podcast features MaryBeth Dugan, program access coordinator for Montgomery Parks, who talks about that special day of instructor-led activity geared toward County residents 50-and-older.

Joining Ms. Dugan on the podcast are instructors Noelia Serrano Gonzalez, program specialist with Senior Sports and Fitness for Rockville Recreation and Parks, and Maureen Ivusic, volunteer at the Poolesville Senior Center. During the podcast, Ms. Dugan, Ms. Gonzalez, and Ms. Ivusic explain what residents can expect from Go, Grow, Get Active and featured sessions, such as Zumba, Tai Chi, Laughter Yoga, Walks with a Doc and presentations from County agencies.

Go, Grow, Get Active is the signature event of the County’s Department of Health and Human Service’s recognition of Active Aging Week. Founded by the International Council on Active Aging, Active Aging Week celebrates the capabilities of older adults as fully participating members of society.

The new podcast episode also highlights County resources to help seniors stay active beyond this period of planned events. More information about Active Aging Week and Go, Grow, Get Active can be found at

Episodes of the What’s Happening MoCo podcast include complete live recordings of interviews to ensure an authentic presentation of information.

The on-demand video of the newest episode can be viewed via the What’s Happening MoCo Facebook page at The podcast also can be heard via several podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts at, Spotify, Amazon Music (ask Alexa to play the What’s Happening MoCo podcast), iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts and others.

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

What’s Happening MoCo podcast episode archives can be accessed by visiting the podcast’s webpage at

County Recreation’s Kids Day Out Will Be an Afternoon of Fun When School is Out Early on Friday, Oct. 8

Montgomery County Recreation will offer out-of-school programming for elementary school students on Friday, Oct. 8, which is an early release day for Montgomery County Public Schools. Kids Day Out is an afternoon of fun, supervised activities that are planned with an emphasis on kid-friendly, healthy recreation.

Programs will take place at the following Club Adventure locations from 1:30-6:30 p.m. The cost to participate in the program is $25. Registration is open to children who do not regularly attend the Club Adventure program.
Kids Day Out – PLAYMontgomery activities will be offered at the Potomac and Germantown Community Recreation Centers.

Kids Day Out – PLAYMontgomery Basketball Skills and Drills, a basketball skills program, will be offered at the Jane E. Lawton and Wheaton Community Recreation Centers.

Registration is available at ActiveMontgomery.

For more information, call 240-777-6840.

'Walktober' Events to Promote Walking and Pedestrian Safety to be Held Throughout October

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is partnering with State and local governments across Maryland to celebrate the Seventh Annual “Walktober” program, a month-long series of activities in October promoting the State’s official exercise: walking. Maryland named walking as the official State exercise in October 2008.

“Walking is healthy for your body, good for our environment, and the best way to see Montgomery County,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “We are committed to making walking and pedestrian mobility easy, safe, and accessible throughout Montgomery County. I encourage all residents to get their steps this ‘Walktober’ while the weather is beautiful, the foliage is in bloom, and it’s the perfect time to explore new communities, dine at your favorite restaurants, and pick some apples or pumpkins at a local farm.”

MCDOT will be hosting a series of outreach events throughout the County designed to highlight the importance of walking and to promote the work being done under the Vision Zero program to make walking in Montgomery County safe for people of all ages and abilities.

“We are proud to partner with State and local agencies to promote ‘Walktober,’” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “This is a great opportunity to highlight the health benefits of walking and raise awareness on safety as we work together to achieve our Vision Zero goals.”

Events scheduled for Walktober include:
  • The Walk & Ride Challenge. Oct. 4-22. The Challenge is open to employees working remotely or in-person in five participating Transportation Management Districts around the County. Nearly 100 employer-based teams have registered and will compete against each other to log the most steps for weekly prizes and a grand prize at the end of the competition. More information on the Challenge is available at
  • Walk to School Day. Wednesday, Oct. 6. All schools are encouraged to sponsor a Walk to School event and register their event at
  • Walking Wednesdays. Every Wednesday during Walktober, Safe Routes to Schools team members will be at numerous Montgomery County Public Schools to talk safety, provide prizes and meet mascot Zeal. View details on the calendar here.
  • Pedestrian Safety Events. Every week, County staff will be at various locations to promote recent safety improvements made to nearby roadways and talk with residents about safely navigating through new bike lanes and pedestrian hybrid beacons. The events will be in Aspen Hill, Friendship Heights, Wheaton and Germantown. View details on the calendar here.
  • Walk Maryland Day. Wednesday, Oct. 6. Event encourages Marylanders to participate in registered walks. Marylanders can become Walk Maryland Day “Sole Mates” by registering to join one of the official walks across the State.
  • The State is hosting four webinars, dubbed “walkinars,” every Thursday throughout October. Details and registration can be found here.
Walktober partners include MCDOT, the Maryland Department of Transportation, the Maryland Department of Health, the Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland Department of Planning, AARP Maryland, America Walks and jurisdictions and organizations across Maryland.

Bike Drive Sponsored by County Department of Transportation on Friday, Oct. 8, in Rockville Will Provide Bikes to Kids and Adults

A bicycle donation event sponsored by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) on Friday, Oct. 8, will provide bicycles for kids and adults in need. Bikes will be collected from 7 a.m.-2 p.m., outside of the Council Office Building parking garage at the corner of East Jefferson Street and Monroe Street in Rockville.

Donated child and adult bikes will be accepted. The drive will not accept bike parts or bike helmets.

“Bikes are good exercise as well as an efficient, sustainable transportation method, but unfortunately, many of our fellow residents cannot afford to own their own bikes,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “We were unable to collect donated bikes last year due to the pandemic and our demand for bikes is great. If you have a bike that is sitting around collecting dust or if you are buying a new one, please donate your bikes to MCDOT on Friday, Oct. 8, for kids and adults in need.”

For Community Service Month five years ago, MCDOT set up a drive to collect bicycles from people who were no longer using them or who did not want to make minor repairs. The bikes are refurbished and equitably distributed to applicants within Montgomery County.

“As we continue to expand Montgomery County’s bicycle path network, more residents are likely to want to take advantage of them,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “We are sensitive to the fact that not all residents can afford a bike and want to do all we can to expand access.”

The first year of the event led to 100 bicycles being donated. In 2018, 120 bicycles were donated. At the third annual event in 2019, the number of donated bikes increased to 176. No donation event was held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

The donated bikes will go to the Rockville Bike Hub, a nonprofit organization whose volunteers refurbish the bikes. The bicycles are then distributed through MCDOT's Bike Match Project, Rockville’s Terrific Kids program and via other charitable organizations that distribute bikes during the holidays. Bikes for the World is partnering with Rockville Bike Hub to work on the bikes that are beyond Rockville Bike Hub’s ability to repair.

Residents, who do not have a bike to donate, can still support the program with checks to the Rockville Bike Hub. All donated funds will be used to purchase parts to repair the bikes.

For more information, visit or call 240-777-8380

‘Economic Recovery and Workforce Solutions’ Will Be Theme as Montgomery County Hosts Revitalization and Recovery Virtual Town Hall on Friday, Oct. 8

“Economic Recovery and Workforce Solutions” will be the theme from noon-1 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 8, 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 Costello, the County Executive’s special projects manager, will host the session.

During the Oct. 8 town hall, Ms. Costello will welcome Anthony Featherstone, executive director of WorkSource Montgomery. Ms. Costello and Mr. Featherstone will discuss how WorkSource Montgomery is contributing to economic recovery in Montgomery County.

“This is a pivotal time for our local, regional, and statewide economic recovery,” Mr. Featherstone said. “To this end, we know that our workforce system must be nimble and responsive to the specific needs of our County’s job seekers and businesses. We are happy to rejoin the Economic Revitalization and Recovery Town Hall to discuss the recovery efforts of WorkSource Montgomery and our partners.”

Ms. Costello also will address updates on the County COVID-19 vaccination efforts and economic recovery from the health crisis with Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Earl Stoddard and Deputy Health Officer James Bridgers.

If business owners, employees or residents have questions they would like to see addressed at the Oct. 8 town hall, they can be submitted by Wednesday, Oct. 6, to

To join the broadcast, go to

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

Town halls are recorded and available through the Montgomery County Business Portal at

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 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

Numerous Events Will Help Highlight October as ‘Domestic Violence Awareness Month’

The Montgomery County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (DVCC) is hosting several events in October to bring attention to Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM).

First observed in October 1981 as a national “Day of Unity,” DVAM is recognized each October to unite efforts to end domestic violence.

Communities and advocacy organizations across the country connect with the public and one another throughout the month to raise awareness about the signs of abuse and ways to stop it, and to uplift survivor stories and provide additional resources to leaders and policymakers.

This year’s events will include, a "Breathe In, Speak Out, Montgomery" yoga event series for teens and adults, webinars on bystander intervention and response to strangulation and other lethality red flags and a virtual survivor panel.

To learn more about the DVCC and register for this year's DVAM events, go to

The tentative list of scheduled events:
  • Monday, Oct. 4. 11:30 a.m. Press Event with Yoga to Support DVAM (wear purple). 600 Jefferson Plaza, Rockville.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 5. 9 a.m. Joint Montgomery County Council and County Executive Proclamation in Honor of DVAM. Zoom. Click here for more information.
  • Friday, Oct. 8. 2-4 p.m. For Youth: Breathe In Speak Out Montgomery County: Yoga for DVAM (free). Zoom and Live on DVCC Facebook. Click here for more information.
  • Saturday, Oct. 9. 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Yasha Circle Ministry Domestic Violence Awareness Conference. Click here for more information.
  • Saturday, Oct. 9. 11 a.m-1 p.m. For everyone: Breathe In Speak Out Montgomery County: Yoga for DVAM (free). Via Zoom and Live on DVCC Facebook, Click here for more information.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 12. 6 p.m. Free Webinar: Bystander Intervention. Via Zoom and Live on DVCC Facebook Click here for more information.
  • Monday, Oct. 18. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Webinar: Power-Based Violence 101: Supporting Survivors and their Families. Virtual. Click here for more information.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 20. 6 p.m. Free Webinar: Domestic Violence Red Flags: Strangulation and Other Dangerous Behavior. Via Zoom and Live on DVCC Facebook. Click here for more information.
  • Thursday, Oct. 21. 12:30 p.m. JCADA 20th Anniversary Celebration. Virtual. Click here for more information.
  • Friday, Oct. 22-24. Ongoing. MCFJC Foundation 12K to Help End Domestic Violence. More Information available.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 27. 6 p.m. Survivor Panel. Via Zoom and Live on DVCC Facebook. Click here for more information.
  • Thursday, Oct. 28. 1 p.m. Understanding and Reducing Bullying Among Older Adults. Virtual. Click here for more information.

Commission for Women Offering Free Career Series This Fall

The Montgomery County Commission for Women will offer five free career seminars this fall to help individuals strengthen their personal brand and place them on the path to finding more than just a job, but a career. The sessions are geared to assist women with their career paths, but are open to everyone.

The events will be presented on Zoom and take place from 7-9 p.m. Registration is required. The link will be forwarded after registration.

The schedule of seminars:
  • Monday, Oct. 4. Resume Writing. Learn the basics of resume writing along with terms and tools to equip yourself with the knowledge you need to have the perfect resume.
  • Monday, Oct. 11. Interviewing Skills. Whether in-person or virtually, being prepared for an interview can give you confidence before walking into the room.
  • Monday, Oct. 18. Networking/Elevator Pitch. Learn how to utilize and maximize connections to align you in the path of your career.
  • Monday, Oct. 25. Wage Negotiating. Discussing finances can be a daunting conversation, but is important to establish from the very beginning. This seminar addresses how to convey your message clearly.
  • Monday, Nov. 1. Building Your Online Brand. Have you considered building your online brand? What makes your profile distinguishable from others on LinkedIn, Indeed, and other job search platforms? This seminar navigates ideas to create your online brand.
For more information on the seminars or to register, click here.

Free Online Workshops Will Be Available for Job Seekers and Entrepreneurs in October

Free online workshops and one-on-one sessions geared toward assisting job seekers and entrepreneurs will be available throughout October through a program offered by Montgomery County Public Libraries. All workshops will be offered virtually.

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

The schedule of workshops and programs:
  • Throughout October – 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. To register:
  • Monday, Oct. 18. 1-3 p.m. Job Search Strategies (in a Pandemic). Learn about best practices for conducting a job search in the current (pandemic) job market. Register:
  • Tuesday, Oct. 19. 10-11:30 a.m. Introduction to Entrepreneurship. Workshop will cover the fundamentals of building a business and help you determine if you are ready to become a small business owner. Produced in partnership with the Maryland Women’s Business Center. Register:
  • Tuesday/Thursday, Oct. 19 and 21. 5:45-7:45 p.m. LinkedIn Boot Camp (Part I / Part II). Two-session/two-day workshop focuses on the mechanics and strategy of using LinkedIn as a tool to conduct a successful job search. Register:
  • Wednesday, Oct. 20. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. How to Apply for Jobs with Montgomery County Government. Find out everything you need to know about applying for jobs with Montgomery County Government. Register:
  • Thursday, Oct. 21. 4-5 p.m. Job Searching in the Digital Age. Learn how to use social media and tools such as LinkedIn in your job search. Learn about new opportunities for freelance work and how you can supplement your income in innovative ways. Program is in partnership with Senior Planet, Join the program via Zoom at or dial in at 301-715-8592. Meeting ID: 819 7936 0844.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 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:,

Libraries Launch New ‘Aspen Discovery Catalog on Monday, Oct. 4

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) on Monday, Oct. 4, will transition to Aspen Discovery, a library catalog providing customers with a new suite of features and a better online experience. In the days leading up to the transition, some library services will be limited or disrupted.

Operational changes needed for transition will require the following disruptions from the evening of Friday, Oct. 1, until the morning of Monday, Oct. 4:
  • The catalog search functionality will be limited or unavailable.
  • Online library card applications will be unavailable.
  • Online resources, including databases and e-books, will experience disruptions.
  • Customers will be unable to place holds or renew items checked out to their accounts.
Library branches will be open for in-person service on Saturday, Oct. 2, but service will be limited to the checking out of materials. Items returned to library branches after Friday evening, Oct. 1, will not be checked in until Monday, Oct. 4. This means they will continue to show up on customer accounts, but they will be back dated when cleared.

All customers’ current account information (checkouts, holds, fines, address and phone, etc.) will be available on the new system. Individuals’ library barcodes and personal identification numbers will remain the same.

With Aspen Discovery, customers will be able to:
  • Access the public catalog via any mobile device.
  • Search E-book and print collections simultaneously.
  • Easily browse all formats (print, e-book, audio book etc.) of a title within one search result. 
  • Receive suggestions for other related titles to check out while waiting for a hold to be Filled.
  • Review current checkouts, renew materials and place holds online for physical and electronic materials. 
  • Manage privacy settings for reading and search history. 
  • View and pay fees online.
  • Save search alerts for arrival of new materials.
  • Select and change notification preferences (text, email).
  • Add star ratings to titles. 
  • Make purchase suggestions online 
  • Create, manage and share lists of favorite books. 
  • Seamless integration of news, events and other communication. 

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

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

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,