October 28, 2021

Message from the County Executive

Dear Friends,

This morning, Montgomery County lifted our indoor mask mandate due to our case rates declining into the “moderate transmission” category from “substantial transmission.” Even with the good news of the declining case rates, I would still encourage everyone to wear masks indoors, even if you are vaccinated. We are still seeing more than 50 cases on some days – these are people getting exposed to COVID-19 from person-to-person contact - as has been the case from the beginning. COVID-19 is definitely not over, and we shouldn’t act as if it is – that will only put more people needlessly at risk.

Even as the mandate is lifted, I want to remind people that indoor masking is still required in our schools and on public transportation. Additionally, any business or entity can still require indoor masking if they wish, and they have the right to refuse entry or service for lack of compliance.

I want to thank everyone for the vigilance and adherence to our guidance that allowed us to get back to “moderate transmission” levels. This is quite an accomplishment that needs to be noted and appreciated. Very few jurisdictions in the country are doing as well as we are and that is due in great part to your respect for science and for following guidelines.


We are looking forward to and preparing for pediatric vaccination of our 5–11-year-old kids, which could begin as early as next week. The County’s Health and Human Services Department is expecting over 13,000 doses initially and about 40,000 total doses will be available in Montgomery County in our first shipment. We expect that vaccine will be available through many resources, including pediatricians, pharmacies, and community clinics.

Many Montgomery County parents are anticipating, planning, and learning about the pediatric vaccinations which are about to begin shortly. Other parents may be more hesitant and have questions. We are working with Montgomery County Public Schools, our community partners, and health outreach teams to make sure that these vaccines are easily available to our 5-11-year-olds, as well as answer questions and clearly communicate their efficacy and importance. Parents are encouraged to check with their pediatricians and monitor updates from the County on the timing and locations where vaccines will be available.


As important as getting our children vaccinated, we also are working on making sure the rest of us get our booster shots. On Monday morning, I got a Moderna booster shot. I originally received the one-dose of Johnson & Johnson. As was announced last week, you do not have to receive the same vaccine as you received originally. I have been feeling fine and glad to have the extra protection. I encourage everyone who is currently eligible to receive a booster to please go out and get one. We now have the supply and distribution system in place to easily get this shot if you qualify. They are here, they are available, and they are easy to receive. The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have determined these booster shots are safe and effective, after a thorough, independent, and transparent review process. You can learn more about eligibility and accessing booster shots here.


This week I joined County Council Vice President Albornoz, and Councilmembers Jawando and Glass to announce our Guaranteed Income Pilot. This pilot will be introduced at the Council and funded by a special appropriation of nearly $2 million with additional financial support from the Meyer Foundation. Expected to launch in 2022, the program will provide direct cash payments of $800 per month to 300 randomly selected, low-income County households for 24 months. Area university partners will evaluate the program’s impact on participating households with anecdotal, qualitative, and quantitative data. I am very excited to see this Pilot program take off and I look forward to reviewing the results. This legislation is an important part of governing and creating smart policy through an equity lens. This income will help alleviate poverty, provide a form of financial stability, and give people the ability to make their own choices to improve their economic position. 


Also, this week I joined other elected officials from around Maryland to promote new subsidies to make health insurance more affordable for young adults. Too many young adults think that they don’t need health insurance enough to spend their money on it; according to the CDC, adults ages 19-34 have the highest uninsured rates of any group. Legislation sponsored by Montgomery County Senator Brian Feldman and Delegate Ken Kerr is helping bring down the cost of health care for young adults ages 18-34 as Maryland’s Open Enrollment period launches Nov. 1. With these new subsidies, a 28-year-old earning $30,000 per year can sign up for a gold health care plan for 2022 for as little $1 per month, which now costs $70 per month. While Maryland has previously brought down the rate of people without health insurance significantly, the young adult age group continues to have higher uninsured rates, with disparities by race and ethnicity. The new state financial assistance will bring down premium costs significantly for people in that age group. I encourage any young uninsured young adult or their parents to please look here for more information on enrollment. 


My administration is committed to governing, budgeting, and prioritizing our goals through an equity lens. To understand why we must move forward under this paradigm and no longer accept the status quo, having discussions about and understanding the truth and importance of Critical Race Theory is important. This week, I joined Montgomery College Interim President Dr. Charlene Mickens Dukes, and Universities at Shady Grove Executive Director Anne Khademian to host a forum on Critical Race Theory. This discussion was timely, important, and an issue that I believe we need to engage due to the misinformation that has become prevalent surrounding this issue. During this forum, keynote speaker, Dr. Traci Dennis defined Critical Race Theory in the most accurate, direct way I have heard. Her definition is “Racism is pervasive. Racism is permanent. And racism must be challenged.” I am so proud that we hosted this forum and thankful to Montgomery College and the Universities at Shady Grove for their partnership.


Sadly, we said goodbye this week to our County Department of Environmental Protection Director Adam Ortiz. Adam was recently appointed by President Biden to be the regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and he’s the first person from Maryland to hold this position. Adam joined me this week during my weekly media briefing and discussed all of the accomplishments we have achieved and programs we are working on to reach our goal of eliminating carbon emissions by 2035. Adam has been a talented director, administrator, mentor, and friend to many. Adam introduced inclusionary practices - using an equity lens for our environmental work and developed an equity map to assist us in evaluating our processes to address innovation and equity in program delivery and community engagement. And you’ll find equity front and center in our climate plan.

Adam’s appointment is yet another example of the caliber of people we have here working in the County government. Although we will miss his leadership and innovation inside County government, I am happy that Adam will still be working daily to protect the local environment as our region’s EPA administrator.


Finally, I wanted to take a moment of personal privilege and note that October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Down syndrome is a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome. According to the CDC, approximately one in every 700 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, making Down syndrome the most common chromosomal condition. As a father to a foster son with Down syndrome, I witness and experience my son’s trials and triumphs every day. His presence in my life has been a great gift.

Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels. People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer’s disease, childhood leukemia and thyroid conditions. Every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all. And many conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives. Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades – from 25 in 1983 to 60 today.

People with Down syndrome attend school, work, participate in decisions that affect them, have meaningful relationships, vote, and contribute to society in many wonderful ways. To learn more or access resources for Down Syndrome, please contact the National Down Syndrome Society, the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome at www.ndss.org or call 800-221-4602.

Wishing a festive and safe Halloween to all who participate.

With appreciation for all of you,

Marc Elrich
County Executive

County Lifts Its Indoor Mask Requirement After Achieving Seven Consecutive Days of ‘Moderate’ COVID-19 Transmission

Montgomery County suspended its mandate requiring masks or face coverings indoors in locations accessible to the public on Thursday, Oct. 28, after James Bridgers, the acting County health officer, announced that it achieved seven consecutive days of “moderate transmission” of COVID-19.

The guidelines for suspending the mandate, outlined in Board of Health regulation 19-975, were adopted by the County Council—acting in its role as the Board of Health—on Aug. 5. If the County’s rate of transmission again increases to “substantial transmission,” the indoor mask mandate will be reinstated.

Although the mandate is no longer in effect, businesses and other organizations can continue to require customers or visitors to wear a mask in their establishments. The County is strongly recommending that all staff and visitors in County Government offices and facilities continue to wear a mask or face covering in publicly accessible areas. The lifting of the indoor mandate from the Board of Health does not impact mask requirements in Montgomery County Public Schools. The Maryland State Department of Education sets policy for public schools.

“The lifting of our indoor mask mandate is a significant achievement for Montgomery County and its residents,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “We got here because the people and businesses of this County accepted and adhered to the guidance we provided. Even though the mandate has been lifted, I will continue to wear a mask indoors and while in crowded outdoor settings because wearing a mask, as well as being fully vaccinated, are the best ways to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends that individuals who are unvaccinated should continue to wear mask or face covering when indoors or in crowded areas to minimize the potential spread of the virus.

County Now Providing COVID-19 Booster Shots for Additional Groups After CDC Approves Boosters for Some Moderna and Johnson & Johnson Recipients

The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services is now providing booster shots to an expanded group of eligible residents. The County is offering the boosters based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated authorization of booster doses. The new eligibility guideline includes certain people who have previously received the Moderna vaccine, and most people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,

Residents who are eligible for booster doses can get vaccinated at pharmacies, through private providers, or at County and other health care-sponsored clinics. Eligible individuals who would like a specific vaccine as their booster dose should check with the vaccination site before making an appointment to ensure availability.

“We know that the information can be confusing to residents, because there are multiple steps to the approval process for the vaccines, as well as differing eligibility criteria depending on which vaccine is recommended,” said Acting Health Officer James Bridgers, “and that is why we ask everyone to review the information carefully and ask their doctor or health provider if they have questions about their specific medical situation.”

The CDC announcement provided the following information on eligibility for a booster dose of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine, recommending that additional groups get COVID-19 booster doses to provide additional protection.

Eligibility for those who received two doses of the Moderna vaccine:
  • Anyone 65 years and older.
  • Adults 18 and older who are at high risk of severe illness because of an underlying condition.
  • Adults 18 and older who are at risk of illness because of their job.
  • Adults 18 and older who live in an institutional setting.
  • Received their second dose of the vaccine at least six months ago.
Eligibility for those who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine:
  • Anyone 18 years and older.
  • Received their Johnson & Johnson dose at least two months ago.
Individuals eligible for a booster shot are authorized to receive any of the available COVID-19 vaccines as their booster.

Residents will be required to self-certify that they fall into one of the eligible groups when making an appointment.  Appointments for County-operated and many private providers are made on the Maryland Department of Health’s PrepMod scheduling platform. Visit Maryland’s vaccine locator to find pharmacies, County-operated sites and other providers offering booster doses. 

If you need help to make an appointment at a County-operated vaccination site, please call the COVID-19 call center at 240-777-2982 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Find additional information at www.GoVaxMoCo.com.  If you feel sick or think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, get tested.  Find free testing clinics at www.MoCoCOVIDtesting.org.  For the latest COVID-19 updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website and follow Montgomery County on Facebook @MontgomeryCountyInfo and Twitter @MontgomeryCoMD.

COVID-19 Information Portal Has Statistics on the Virus Including Infections and Vaccinations 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:               

County Executive Elrich, County Council Propose Special Appropriation of Nearly $2 Million to Help Fund ‘Guaranteed Income Pilot Program’

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich joined County Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz and Councilmembers Will Jawando and Evan Glass on Oct. 26 to provide details of a proposed “Guaranteed Income Pilot Program” for Montgomery County residents. If a special appropriation is approved by the Council to create the program, it would begin in 2022 and provide direct cash payments of $800 per month to 300 County households for 24 months.

If approved, Montgomery County’s program would be the first of its kind in Maryland. The Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the appropriation at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2. More information on the proposal can be found here.

Among those joining the event in Rockville to unveil the program were the County’s director of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Raymond L. Crowel and representatives from the Meyer Foundation, the Collaboration Council, nonprofits and university partners.

The County’s Guaranteed Income Pilot Program will be a public-private partnership supported by the County Executive, Montgomery County DHHS, the Meyer Foundation, UpTogether and the Collaboration Council. The County’s support would include a special appropriation of $1.99 million from County reserve funds.

Area university partners will evaluate the program’s impact on participating households with anecdotal, qualitative and quantitative data.

“Financial insecurity forces many of our most vulnerable residents to make unthinkable decisions between spending money on food, prescriptions or needs for their children at the expense of each other. This should not happen here or anywhere in this country,” said County Executive Elrich. “It is difficult to afford to live and get by in a place as expensive as Montgomery County on limited and fixed incomes without the current growing inflation in our markets. I am proud to support the Guaranteed Income Pilot Program and appreciate Councilmembers Jawando and Albornoz, our HHS Department, the Meyer Foundation, UpTogether, and the Collaboration Council for their leadership, partnership and collaboration on this important program that we must get off the ground with a great sense of urgency.”

Guaranteed income pilot programs have been tested in other jurisdictions across the nation. Nearby jurisdictions such as Arlington County and the City of Alexandria in Virginia have announced similar guaranteed income pilot programs to help alleviate financial inequalities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Wealth and income inequality in the U.S. and in Montgomery County continues to be a challenge that has only become more dire during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Councilmember Jawando. “Guaranteed income is a promising strategy to reduce inequality and relieve pressure for families struggling to meet basic needs. As the first jurisdiction in Maryland to launch a Guaranteed Income Pilot Program, I want our county to be on the forefront of understanding and implementing solutions that improve the lives of our residents and allow them to achieve their full potential.”

Council Vice President Albornoz said the pilot program could prove to have a significant impact on struggling families.

"I am excited about the potential for this program to assist families in permanently exiting poverty,” said Council Vice President Albornoz. “It honors a family's resilience by placing trust in their ability to make their own decisions on what is best for their path forward. This program will help provide economic mobility and put an end to generational poverty."

The Meyer Foundation has pledged to support the program.

“At the Meyer Foundation, we believe that organizations and institutions across sectors must work in partnership to make meaningful progress on challenges in our region,” said Meyer Foundation Director for Maryland Partnerships and Strategy Julian Haynes. “We’re glad to join local government leaders and community partners in supporting a pilot that will put much-needed resources directly into the hands of Montgomery County families navigating the painful realities of poverty and economic injustice."

Montgomery Parks Reinstates ‘Picnic in the Park’ Program to Allow Alcohol in 13 Parks

The ‘Picnic in the Parks’ program that allows alcohol in certain parks has been reinstated by Montgomery Parks in 13 parks. The program was created to inspire park use in 2020 during the COVID-19 health crisis, but was suspended on July 1, 2021, in response to the end of the COVID-19 State of Emergency issued by the State of Maryland.

“While the directive was in effect, people were responsibly enjoying food and alcohol in these parks,” said Montgomery Parks Director Mike Riley. “It has been great to see the support from the public and elected officials to bring this program back.”

The program allows park users 21 or older to responsibly consume alcohol during operating hours, dawn to dusk, in 13 parks. Park Police ensure all State and County laws, as well as park rules and regulations, are followed.

Information about the program, including maps of the areas in the 13 parks where alcohol is permitted, can be found online at www.montgomeryparks.org.

More Seasonal Fun Will Be Hosted by Montgomery Recreati

Montgomery County Recreation is hosting family-friendly events to enjoy during the fall season. From free movies to swimming with pumpkins, events will be hosted at community recreation centers and aquatic facilities located throughout the County.

The special events that will be hosted by Montgomery Recreation include:
  • Friday, Oct. 29. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Damascus Community Recreation Center Spooktacular Outdoor Movie Night. 25520 Oak Drive, Damascus. Spend a Spooktacular Friday night outside watching The Witches, (rated PG). The event includes a costume contest to find the silliest, spookiest and most creative costume, a mini pumpkin patch and a trick or treat table. Registration # 138325.
  • Saturday, Oct. 30 Floating Pumpkin Patch. Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver Aquatic Center, 5900 Executive Blvd., North Bethesda, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Swim Center, 1201 Jackson Road, Silver Spring. Ever picked a pumpkin in a swimming pool? It can happen for children ages 2 to 12 years who will swim around to pick a pumpkin and then decorate it. Swimming with pumpkins will be available until noon and decorating will be available until 12:30 p.m. $10 per person. Registration # 133556 (Shriver) and 139882 (MLK).
  • Saturday, Oct. 30. 3-6 p.m. Gwendolyn Coffield Fall Family Festival.Gwendolyn Coffield Community Recreation Center (outside parking lot), 2450 Lyttonsville Road, Silver Spring. Ghouls and goblins come dressed in your Halloween costume to win a prize. Enjoy games, a dance party candy and treats. See the Halloween-theme decorated cars and vote for best.
  • Saturday, Oct. 30. Clara Barton Neighborhood Recreation Center Haunted House. 7425 MacArthur Blvd., Cabin John. Fortunes will be told, witches, zombies will haunt your path and games will challenge your nerves and skill. Path will be inside and all other activities will be outside. Refreshments will be offered and small gifts will be handed out to kids.
  • Friday, Nov. 5. 7-9:30 p.m. Ross Boddy Neighborhood Recreation Center Movie Night. 18529 Brooke Road, Sandy Spring. Cruella is the featured movie for this free event that will be in the gymnasium. Light refreshments will be available for purchase. Registration # 139318.
Registration for events can be made online at ActiveMONTGOMERY. Not all events require registration. More information on Montgomery County Recreation is available on the website.

Halloween Special Events Set for This Weekend from Montgomery Parks   

Fall is filled with special events from Montgomery Parks. The wide range of events will include riding on the Halloween Eye Spy Trains 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.     
  • 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 MontgomeryParks.org for a complete list of special events and programming.      

‘Be Seen on Halloween’ Safety Tips Will Be Emphasized This Weekend, Including at Several Family Friendly Halloween Events

Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) wants to ensure that trick or treaters have a safe and fun Halloween, particularly since it will be dark during many of the festivities.

“This statistic should scare you—the National Safety Council tells us that children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “It is so important that families take extra precautions to ‘be seen on Halloween.’ We hope that all Montgomery County families have a fun and safe Halloween this year.”

The following tips can help keep trick or treaters safe:
  • Drivers should slow down and be alert! Kids are excited on Halloween and may dart into the street. Reduce your speed and turn on headlights early in the day to spot kids from further away.
  • Drivers and Trick or treaters should put electronic devices down and keep heads up and use caution on our streets and sidewalks.
  • Trick or treaters should only cross the street at corners or crosswalks. Always look left, right, and left again when crossing, and keep looking as you cross. Walk, don’t run, across the street.
  • Trick or treaters should make themselves more easily seen by carrying glow sticks or flashlights, use reflective tape or stickers on costumes and bags, and wear light colors.
  • Review the County’s COVID-19 health guidance as it relates to Halloween.
“With the return to a more traditional Halloween this year, we want to remind residents that drivers need to slow down, avoid distraction and impairment, and use extra caution. Kids need to be visible, aware of traffic, and careful when walking on our streets,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “It is so important that we all take the necessary care to keep each other safe.”

The MCDOT Safe Routes to School program will be participating at several family friendly events, giving out safety prizes and promoting pedestrian safety. The program will be participating in events at:
For ongoing updates, follow @MCDOTNow on Twitter, visit the department website at montgomerycountymd.gov/mcdot and subscribe to MCDOT’s ‘Go Montgomery!’ newsletter.

‘HalloWheaton’ on Marian Fryer Plaza in Downtown Wheaton Will Feature Many Free Fun Events on Saturday, Oct. 30

‘HalloWheaton’ a free, fun for all ages event, will take place at the new Marian Fryer Town Plaza in Downtown Wheaton from noon-4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30.

Marian Fryer Plaza is located at 2424 Reedie Drive at the Wheaton Triangle Business District. Lot and garage parking is available across the street from the plaza on Grandview Avenue.

All attendees are encouraged to wear costumes.

Activities at HalloWheaton will include pumpkin and mask painting, S’mores roasting and caramel apples, face painting, balloon sculptures, caricature drawing, lawns games, hot chocolate and cider. All activities, food and soft drinks are free while supplies last.

A DJ will provide music throughout HalloWheaton.

The event will include a beer and wine garden, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to benefit Mid-County United Ministries (MUM), a food pantry in downtown Wheaton.

More information can be obtained at https://www.wheatonmd.org/.

Montgomery County’s Alcohol Beverage Services Opens New Flagship Store in Potomac

Montgomery County’s Department of Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) has opened a new retail concept and flagship store, Oak Barrel & Vine, in the Cabin John Village Shopping Center in Potomac. The store had its grand opening on Oct. 27.

The Cabin John Village Shopping Center is located at 7913 Tuckerman Lane in Potomac (between the Giant and Starbucks retail stores). The Oak Barrel & Vine store is open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon-5 p.m. on Sundays.

The store features more than 2,000 handpicked items with a focus on spirits and locally produced products. It has a dedicated tasting area and event space that will be used to drive business for Maryland Made distilleries, wineries and breweries.

“We are excited to share Oak Barrel & Vine with the entire Montgomery County community and look forward to welcoming shoppers to our flagship store,” said ABS Director Kathie Durbin. “This is our store of the future and the stores we open over the next few years will follow this model, not only in terms of aesthetics and selection but in terms of the innovative shopping experience offered.”

As part of its opening celebration, the Oak Barrel & Vine story has some rare and allocated items available for purchase. Each specific highly allocated item is limited to one bottle per customer and no more than two highly allocated bottles can be purchased per customer, per day.

For a full list of store locations and hours, visit the ABS website here.

ABS is the alcohol wholesaler of beer, wine, and spirits for Montgomery County and operates 26 retail stores throughout the County. In addition, ABS manages alcohol licensing, enforcement and education for more than 1,000 businesses. Generating more than $30 million in net income annually, its profits are used to pay down County debt with a large portion deposited in the general fund to pay for resident services that would otherwise be funded by County tax dollars.

Commission on Veterans Affairs Seeking Additions to Its Tribute to County Veterans as Veterans Day Approaches on Nov. 11

Montgomery County’s Commission on Veterans Affairs is paying tribute to County veterans through a virtual “Tribute to Montgomery County Veterans” website. As Veterans Day approaches on Thursday, Nov. 11, the commission wants to add tributes to the site.

The website is open to all residents who have served in military service. In addition, there will be Montgomery County veterans’ tributes during the month of November in the display cases at the Rockville Memorial Library and the Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza.

Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day, which is celebrated at the end of May, honors military personnel who died in service, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered on Veterans Day, the upcoming holiday is set aside to honor all of those who served honorably in the military—in wartime or peacetime. Veterans Day is largely intended to thank living veterans and acknowledge their contributions to national security.

The commission is seeking to expand the Tribute to Montgomery County Veterans website by adding information on more veterans whose information is supplied either by the veterans themselves, by family members or by friends.

The tribute to veterans website can be found at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/veteransday. From this site, there is a link to the commission’s Fallen Heroes page at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/fallenheroes.

A veteran can share their story, or someone can share the story of a friend or family member, by filling out the Commission’s Google form or filling out its PDF form. Questions can be directed to Carly.Clem@montgomerycountymd.gov or Betsy.Luecking@montgomerycountymd.gov.

The following information is needed on the forms:
  • Servicemember or veteran's name.
  • Name of person submitting information and relationship to the individual.
  • Branch of service and rank.
  • Years of service.
  • Era served (WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Global War on Terror or peacetime/other).
  • Brief narrative of their service.
  • Connection to Montgomery County (where the individual currently lives, grew up, attended high school or college/university, etc.).
  • Photos (preferably one during their service and one present day).
By sending an e-mail to be included, the sender agrees to have the information shared on the County's website and in the Commission on Veterans Affairs social media.

To learn more about the Montgomery Commission on Veterans Affairs, go to https://tinyurl.com/yxyfdcoc.

Corridor Advisory Committee Seeks Feedback on Veirs Mill Road Bus Rapid Transit/Flash Bus, System Expansion in Virtual Meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 10

Montgomery County’s Corridor Advisory Committee (CAC) will hold a virtual meeting from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 10, to provide an update and seek feedback on the future Veirs Mill Road Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)/Flash Bus project.

During the meeting organized by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT), residents will be asked for their views on station access and design. MCDOT recently completed preliminary engineering and is preparing to begin the final design. All CAC meetings are open to the public.

The Veirs Mill Road BRT will be a seven-mile, limited-stop, branded bus service with 12 stations planned along Veirs Mill Road. The line will be part of the County’s Flash Bus service. Flash already is operating on Route 29. Stations are designed to make boarding the buses easier, accelerate travel time and increase transit equity.

BRT can improve passenger transit mobility by connecting riders to urban areas and employment centers. The Veirs Mill Road Corridor has long been considered for upgraded transit, as it accommodates some of the highest transit ridership in Montgomery County.

BRT is a modern, flexible, affordable, premium form of transportation that combines features of a bus and a light rail system. BRT features include:
  • Frequent, reliable service.
  • Bus lanes at intersections that allow buses to keep moving, known as queue jump lanes.
  • Dedicated bus lanes in some parts of the corridor, reducing traffic delays.
  • Priority green light signaling, allowing for shorter travel times.
  • Near-level boarding at multiple doors, facilitating quick and efficient boarding and exiting.
  • Comfortable stations providing weather protection, pre-payment stations and real-time transit information via message boards.
  • Community-friendly design with enhanced pedestrian walkways and bike facilities.
“Corridor Advisory Committees are an integral part of our Bus Rapid Transit/Flash planning for US 29, MD 355 and Veirs Mill Road. These Committees are a way for us to give project updates and get feedback from residents and businesses,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “We recently celebrated the US 29 Flash’s one-year anniversary. Despite the pandemic, we had about 500,000 riders. BRT systems have a drastic impact on the neighborhoods they serve and gathering feedback from the community helps us best shape our service.”

To register to attend the virtual CAC meeting, click here. To learn more about Flash, click here.

For questions on the virtual CAC meeting, please contact Project Manager Michael Mitchell at Michael.Mitchell@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Free Online Workshops Available in November for Job Seekers and Entrepreneurs

Free online workshops and one-on-one sessions geared toward assisting job seekers and entrepreneurs are available throughout November. Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) is sponsoring the programs.

An internet connection and a device (such as a smartphone, tablet or computer) are required for participation.
  • Throughout November—Every Monday, 9:30-11:30 a.m. H.I.R.E. (Helping Individuals Reach Employment) Sessions. Sign up to meet virtually/confidentially one-on-one with a career counselor for advice and assistance with your job search. Register for each one:
  • Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2-3 p.m. Job Searching Tips and Resources for Veterans. Learn about key MCPL resources for job-seeking veterans, including an introduction to newly launched Brainfuse-VetNow. VetNow is an online tool that assists veterans with navigating the VA system, transitioning to civilian employment and excelling in academics. The session will also feature the Maryland Department of Labor and its services to assist veterans seeking employment. Register: https://mcpl.libnet.info/event/5717157
  • Monday Nov. 15: 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: https://mcpl.libnet.info/event/5727336
  • Tuesday/Thursday, Nov. 16 and 18, 5:45-7:45 p.m. LinkedIn Boot Camp (Part I / Part II). This popular two-session/two-day workshop focuses on both the mechanics and strategy of using LinkedIn as a tool to conduct a successful job search. Register: https://mcpl.libnet.info/event/5136279
  • Tuesday, Nov. 16: 10-11:30 a.m. Introduction to Entrepreneurship. Workshop will cover the fundamentals of building a business and help determine if a person is ready to become a small business owner. Presented in partnership with the Maryland Women’s Business Center (MWBC). Register: https://mcpl.libnet.info/event/5727617
  • Wednesday, Nov. 17, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. How to Apply for Jobs with Montgomery County Government. Find out what is needed to apply for jobs with Montgomery County Government. Register: https://mcpl.libnet.info/event/5193362
  • Wednesday, Nov. 17, 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/5727305

Building Owners Wanting Montgomery County LEED Certification Tax Credit Must Submit ‘Intent to Apply Application’ by Jan. 1

Building owners interested in pursuing Montgomery County’s property tax credit for LEED certified commercial and multifamily buildings are reminded by the County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Finance that they must submit applications for the credit, or notify the County of their intent to apply, by Jan. 1.

In September 2020, the County established a new Energy-Efficient Buildings property tax credit to improve the energy efficiency of existing and newly constructed buildings, and recently passed amendments to better implement the incentive program.

The innovative Energy-Efficient Buildings property tax credit program aligns with the County’s ambitious climate goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 by shifting the primary focus of incentives from building certifications alone to demonstrated energy improvements. The two-tier incentive program design is the first of its kind in the nation.

As part of the establishment of the new Energy-Efficient Buildings property tax credit, the current property tax credit for energy and environmental design awarded to commercial and multifamily properties for earning qualified LEED certifications will be retired. The process, as recommended by stakeholders, ensures that building owners that made business decisions based on the existence of this incentive will be able to earn the credit in a reasonable amount of time.

Key dates for building owners to know about the sunsetting LEED certification tax credit:
  • Building owners pursuing property tax credit for energy and environmental design for an eligible LEED-certified commercial or multifamily building must either submit a completed application with their LEED Scorecard, or submit an Intent to Apply Application form, by Jan. 1, 2022.
  • After Jan. 1, only buildings that appear on the Intent to Apply list will be eligible to receive the sunsetting property tax credit for energy and environmental design.
  • Eligible buildings pursuing a LEED-Existing Buildings credit will need to submit completed applications with the LEED Scorecard no later than Jan. 1, 2023.
  • Eligible buildings pursuing a LEED-Core and Shell or LEED-New Construction credit will need to submit their completed application with the LEED Scorecard no later than Jan. 1, 2024.
  • After Jan. 1, 2024, commercial or multifamily owners seeking a tax credit for a high-performance building will be directed to the new Energy-Efficient Buildings property tax credit.
Offering energy-efficiency incentives to building owners is a key component of the County’s Climate Action Plan that is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the commercial and multifamily built environment. The property tax program also allows building owners to prepare early for pending Building Energy Performance Standards and more stringent building code requirements, such as the recently adopted 2018 International Green Construction Code.

More information about the new property tax credit and application forms will be released in the coming months.

Important information and links to applications:
For more information, contact energy@montgomerycountymd.gov or sign up for DEP’s Commercial Energy News email list for updates on the new Energy-Efficient Buildings property tax credit.

Questions about submitting property tax credit applications can be directed to the County’s Division of Treasury in the Department of Finance at 240-777-0311.

October 21, 2021

Message from the County Executive    

Dear Friends,

As we begin to celebrate Halloween and head into the fall holidays, this is always a joyous time for children. One of the more difficult impacts of the pandemic has been the losses our children have experienced in education, socialization, and emotional growth, and we don’t know whether there will be long-term effects. However, over the past 20 months, parents, siblings, relatives, teachers, guardians, and community groups have done everything in their power, using technology and creativity to make the best of this bad situation for our children.

We have a lot to be thankful for now that the vaccine for kids is on the horizon, our students have returned to their classrooms, and we reside in one of the safest jurisdictions in this nation in terms of our vaccination rate and our COVID case rates. Just this week, the Baltimore Sun front page headline was that we reached 99.9 percent of the eligible population vaccinated. I was also interviewed on the BBC World News about this accomplishment. This is an incredible feat that we should celebrate as a community.

But we all know that this fight against the pandemic is not over. Even if you are vaccinated, you could still get sick and even die – especially if you have underlying conditions.  And of course, children under 12 are not yet able to be vaccinated.  We must continue our COVID safe habits – wearing masks indoors, socially distancing when we can, washing our hands, getting our flu shots, and never giving up on trying to convince anyone who is vaccine hesitant that it is safe, effective, and can save lives.

Don’t let Halloween celebrations bring you tricks!

If you are celebrating Halloween or other festivities, I encourage you to get COVID tested before and after any events or gatherings, whether you are vaccinated or not. Please don’t assume that just because we are vaccinated, we are immune to catching COVID (although the breakthrough cases are fewer and generally less severe – an important benefit of vaccination). Testing is available all around the County at pharmacies, grocery stores and medical providers. The County continues our own robust testing programs, testing approximately 5,000 people per week as a part of our efforts to keep infections down in communities.

Our school testing program is reducing quarantine numbers

Also related to testing, we have been working with the Montgomery County Public Schools to improve their testing system,  providing staff, rapid tests and resources to address the situation.  Our goal is to keep as many students as possible in school learning and reduce the numbers out on quarantine. The good news is that our approach has worked and we have successfully stood up a testing program that is reducing the number of quarantined students.  

We have gone from 1,700-1,800 students quarantined in our first couple of weeks to currently 356. We are also finalizing our test-to-stay program which should further reduce the number of students quarantined. You can follow our progress on MCPS’s recently launched dashboard. This has been an excellent team effort between MCPS and our department of Health and Human Services and Covid response teams. 

The learning loss that we saw last year highlights the importance of making sure our students are in the schools and classrooms as much as possible. As the school year continues, we will surely experience more challenges and even potential setbacks, but through partnership, collaboration, and communication we continue to ensure all our kids are experiencing in-class learning as much as possible.

Redistricting Matters!

This week, the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission appointed by the Governor released its redistricting maps for state and Congressional districts.

I’ve heard concern from community residents about these new districts, and I share their concern that these maps would divide communities, dilute minority representation, and weaken our position in Annapolis. These maps look like gerrymandering to me. It doesn’t surprise me, and shouldn’t surprise any of us. The map was created by the commission handpicked by Governor Hogan to come up with redistricting maps for state and Congressional districts[ clearly, they are not fair to Montgomery County. These maps would divide communities, dilute minority representation, and weaken our position in Annapolis.  

However, this process is not finished. The General Assembly will review the maps and I'm confident that the General Assembly will pass maps that better reflect our communities. I urge you to review these proposed maps and testify before the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Committee hearing on Nov. 5 at The Universities at Shady Grove and ask them to reject this politically partisan map that shows disdain for our county. For more information about the upcoming public hearing, and to sign up to speak go to: https://planning.maryland.gov/Redistricting/Pages/default.aspx

Let’s keep climate action moving!

I want to remind President Biden and Congressional Democrats that the Oct. 31st deadline for passing the spending package contains funds to dramatically cut carbon emissions that are warming the planet and fueling climate disasters. These represent a historic set of policies that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said would serve as “a model for the world.” Congress needs to pass this bill before the U.N. Climate Talks in Scotland in two weeks or we risk losing our standing that allows us to hold other countries equally accountable. 

We are doing our part in Montgomery County with a very aggressive Climate Action Plans to reduce all of our carbon emissions by 2035. However, inaction on a global, national or even local level will hurt efforts on an issue that we are already years, if not decades, behind on seriously addressing. I sent legislation to our County Council back in April regarding Building Energy Performance Standards, or BEPS (Bill 16-21), that is key to our carbon emission reduction goals. I am very pleased that the Council will begin to review this legislation next Thursday, Oct. 28 at 9:30 a.m. I continue to encourage the Council as well as all residents who want to address climate change to act and be heard.

Recognizing the work of our nonprofit partners

As parts of our life returning to normal in different ways, we must not forget the tens of thousands of our neighbors throughout our County who are ill, hurting financially, ailing with mental health issues due to stress, or are caretaking for an ill family member. Over the next two months, I will travel throughout the County visiting our nonprofit and community organizations who are on the frontlines of helping those facing challenges. Whether it is volunteering your time or donating money or resources, so many of you are giving back to the community through our nonprofits and I thank them and you for all your efforts.

We also want to ensure the safety of our nonprofit organizations as well. I want to remind nonprofit organizations that they have until 5 p.m. this coming Monday, Oct. 25, to submit their applications for the Nonprofit Security Grants. We approved $700,000 to be used for nonprofit organizations experiencing hate crimes or at significant risk of becoming targets of hate crimes. These grants are available to augment costs for security personnel or other security planning measures for nonprofit organizations located in our County. Learn more about this grant at https://buff.ly/3psVgpZ

Connecting with and supporting our small businesses

One recent example of the deadly impacts of climate change was the flooding that occurred last month following the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida. We are very appreciative of the Small Business Association’s  offer of low interest disaster loans for impacted residents and businesses. On our end, the County government and our partners will make sure all who our eligible are aware of this opportunity to help them recover and rebuild from damage incurred.

Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/ and should apply under SBA declaration #17229, not for the COVID-19 incident.

Support small businesses!

I was pleased to speak at the Montgomery County Small Business Association Networking event this week – a wonderful organization that is a great advocate for our county businesses. Small businesses are responsible for two-thirds of our businesses, and are the heart of our growing economy.  And I am very proud of our record of increasing county procurement dollars for local, small, minority and women-owned county businesses. In fact, we had a record-breaking year in fiscal year 2021 in the Minority, Female and Disabled Persons owned (MFD) businesses; the spending increased from 20 percent to almost 27 percent.  We also increased our spending on local businesses by $20 million last year. 

My goal is to find, help, and grow more small businesses in Montgomery County.  You can find links to workshops on small business loan applications, legal requirements for small businesses, navigating the marketplace and more here.

You can still learn about the budget

This week, we concluded our series of hybrid regional budget forums in our five regional service center communities. These budget forums are important events for us to update the public on our upcoming FY23 budget process and outlook as well provide opportunities for the public to give us input and feedback. I want to thank all our residents who attended, asked questions, and brought up important issues and priorities. We are planning two more upcoming budget forums, one for our Spanish Speaking residents and another at Leisure World for our senior population. If you missed any of these budget forums you can re-watch them on our website and on our social media platforms.

Outstanding leaders!

Like many around Maryland, I was surprised to read that this week that Maryland Treasurer Nancy Kopp announced her retirement and Attorney General Brian Frosh announced he was not going to run for another term. It will be hard to imagine Maryland without them in service, but their legacies will live onin the years ahead.

For over five decades, Nancy Kopp has served the State of Maryland and Montgomery County with grace and honesty while remaining true to her convictions and always standing up to powerful special interests on behalf of the voiceless. She has been not only a trailblazing pioneer for women throughout Maryland, but an innovator as both a legislator and treasurer. Her leadership helped our State to become one of the best in our nation. I am thankful for her counsel and friendship and wish her all the best during her well-deserved retirement.

I also want to thank Brian Frosh for his many decades of service to the people of Montgomery County and Maryland. Brian Frosh has been an outstanding Attorney General and we have all benefited from his wisdom, character, and leadership. We were fortunate that Brian was willing to be a national leader in the effort to fight back against the unconstitutional actions of the Trump Administration. While most people know Brian in his role as Maryland’s Attorney General, many people may not know he was a central leader in the effort to combat climate change and to protect our environment during his many years of distinguished service in the Maryland General Assembly representing Bethesda. Our State, our environment and our community are better for Brian’s commitment to justice and equality.

As always, with appreciation for all of you,


Marc Elrich
County Executive

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Businesses and Residents Affected by Remnants of Tropical Storm Ida

Maryland businesses and residents affected by the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida on Aug. 31 through Sept. 4 can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced this week. Montgomery County businesses are among those identified for potential assistance.

“Montgomery County encountered deadly consequences last month following rain and flooding from the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “We are very appreciative of the Small Business Association to offer low-interest disaster loans to impacted residents and businesses. On our end, the County government and our partners will make sure all who our applicable are aware of this opportunity to help them recover and rebuild from damage incurred.”

To assist businesses and residents affected by the disaster, the SBA will open Disaster Loan Outreach Centers (DLOCs). One loan outreach center will be opened at the Twinbrook Library, located at 202 Meadow Hall Dr. in Rockville. The center will be open from Oct. 25-Nov. 5. The hours of operation will be:
  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Thursday: Noon-8 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Montgomery County has identified approximately 25 individual residences and/or businesses that sustained damage from the remnants of Tropical Storm IDA on Sept. 1.

Customer service representatives will be available at the DLOCs to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help individuals complete their applications.

“Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property,” said Kem Fleming, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

Loans could be available for the following:
  • Business Physical Disaster Loans: Loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, nonprofit organizations, such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL): Working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private, nonprofit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. The loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.
  • Home Disaster Loans: Loans to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate and personal property, including automobiles.
Applicants can apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/ela/s and should apply under SBA declaration #17229, not for the COVID-19 incident.

Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by emailing mailto:DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. Loan applications can be downloaded at sba.gov/disaster.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Dec. 17. The deadline to return economic injury applications is July 18.