May 26, 2022

Message from the County Executive


Dear Friends,

Even though Uvalde, Texas is far from Montgomery County, we are reeling from the mass murder in the elementary school where 19 children and 2 adults were killed. We feel the loss and the anguish of the community. And we feel the anger that almost ten years after the mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School, we have made no progress on meaningful gun control.

The idea that our society allows an 18-year-old to walk into a gun store and buy weapons with no background check and no waiting period is insane. It is absurd that it’s more difficult to get a driver’s license than it is to buy a gun. We know that there are way too many guns on our streets and available for purchase outside of any regulations, but where we can regulate and limit sales of weapons designed solely for killing people, we need to do it.

Incidents like this anywhere undermine people’s sense of security everywhere. Many parents, teachers, students and families are worried and we understand. Our police and school security and administrative staff are in daily contact to provide a safe environment in our schools. Our schools are also acknowledging and supporting the increased mental health supports many may need, and we will support them.

A Vigil for Buffalo:

Unfortunately, Uvalde was not the only recent mass shooting in this nation. Earlier this week we held a meeting and vigil with faith and community leaders following the targeted shooting at a grocery store in a Black community in Buffalo, NY as well as the shooting of an Asian American church in Southern California. Our Black and faith communities remain concerned and worried for their neighborhoods and houses of worships.

We understand that fear, which is why the Montgomery County government has been providing and will continue to provide security grants to help our nonprofits and faith organizations with security operations. The Council just approved my recommended $800,000 for the coming fiscal year to help nonprofits and other groups protect themselves.

At this vigil, we sent a message of support to the Buffalo Mayor and City Council that Montgomery County stands with their residents and community during this difficult time.

As Summer begins, protect yourself from COVID:

As we approach the Memorial Day weekend, a lot of people will be traveling and so it is an important time to take precautions to protect yourself, friends, and family from COVID-19 as much as possible. We implore you to stay up to date on your vaccinations and boosters.

Vaccinations are the best way to avoid hospitalizations because vaccines are effective at reducing severe illness if you do catch COVID. It is an effective public health tool for bringing down transmission levels and stopping the spread of COVID. The CDC is still recommending masks on public transportation. CDC is also recommending masking indoors in crowded spaces where social distancing is not possible.

CDC

This past weekend, our health department began providing boosters to children aged 5-11. All children ages 5 through 11 years should now receive a booster vaccine 5 months after completing their primary series. Children ages 5 through 11 years who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive a booster 3 months after completing their primary series. Since authorizing the vaccine for children down to 5 years of age in October 2021, emerging data suggest that vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 wanes after the second dose of the vaccine in all authorized populations.

Rapid tests - antigen vs PCR?

We also need people to take COVID tests and report their results when they feel sick or when they’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive. We’re getting asked more often now: Which COVID-19 test is right for me? At home rapid antigen tests are recommended if you notice COVID symptoms. Results come back in 15 minutes.

The alternative to an antigen test is a PCR test. It's for anyone who has been exposed to someone who has tested positive but is not showing any symptoms. It’s commonly used by anyone returning to work after an extended absence like a trip or to travel.

The county has several PCR Test drop off boxes available which we encourage people to continue to use. If you drop a test off before 5 p.m. you'll typically get the result the next day by email. With this option you must register online to get your results. That helps us track COVID in the County.

Remember you can pick up COVID tests at libraries across Montgomery County along with N95 masks. We want to thank you for doing your part to keep the community safe. For more information about COVID testing, please click here.

tests

Paying tribute to those who sacrificed:

This Monday is Memorial Day and, there will be several ways to honor our veterans and service members here in Montgomery County including the annual Memorial Day Ceremony and Parade that returns to Rockville Town Square starting at 9 a.m. Monday.

You can also pay tribute to members of the military from Montgomery County lost to war through the Fallen Hometown Heroes project. The Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs is honoring many “Fallen Hometown Heroes” with County connections dating back to World War I with detailed tributes displayed on a special website created by the Commission.

This website honors veterans who were killed in action in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the Global War on Terrorism. The website includes photos and military histories of Fallen Hometown Heroes who were either originally from the County or who lived in Montgomery after their service. The site can be viewed at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/fallenheroes

Dive into summer at our County pools:

Montgomery County’s seven public pools will open at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 28.
  • Bethesda Outdoor Pool, 301-652-1598, 6300 Hillandale Road, Bethesda
  • Germantown Outdoor Pool, 240-777-8067, 18905 Kingsview Road, Germantown
  • Long Branch Outdoor Pool, 301-431-5700, 8700 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring
  • Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Outdoor Pool, 240-777-8066, 1201 Jackson Road, Silver Spring
  • Sara E. Auer Western County Outdoor Pool, 301-349-2217, 20151 Fisher Avenue, Poolesville
  • Sergeant Hector I. Ayala Wheaton/Glenmont Outdoor Pool, 301-929-5460, 12621 Dalewood Drive, Wheaton
  • Upper County Outdoor Pool, 301-840-2446, 8211 Emory Grove Road, Gaithersburg
For now pools will only be open on the weekends and on Memorial Day. For more information about pool hours and admission rates, please visit the Montgomery County Recreation website. As the summer season gets underway, residents are encouraged to practice safety first – whether that is swimming, boating, biking, or hiking. Children are most at risk for water-related accidents and it is important to closely supervise children while they are in and around the water. I hope everyone has a fun and safe summer.

KID Museum opens doors in Bethesda:

This past weekend I was able to watch eyes light up and imaginations go into overdrive as we celebrated the grand opening of the KID Museum's new flagship location at 3 Bethesda Metro Center, located near the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and East West Highway. Since the KID Museum began 8 years ago, they have served 330,000 students, families and teachers. With this new facility, they will be able to serve many more. More than half of the students who participate in KID Museum programs attend Title I schools or are from under-resourced communities.

Last summer, I visited a KID Museum class at the Universities at Shady Grove, and sat in a classroom while they learned firsthand how to make a circuit breaker. The instructor was engaging, and the students were attentive and learning while they were having fun at the same time. This is what the KID Museum is all about.

The KID Museum sees the world with the “mind of a maker” and values curiosity, creativity, collaboration, and compassion. These are values that we embrace here in Montgomery County, making this a perfect home for Kid Museum!

Montgomery County Government receives awards and accolades:

This week, Montgomery County was nominated for four National Capital Emmy awards. Salud y Bienestar, our Latino Health Initiative, won an Emmy last year and has two nominations this year. Our Department of Environmental Protection and HHS were each nominated as well. This is a great recognition for our County communications and outreach efforts.

Additionally, the Montgomery County government earned 31 National Association of Counties Achievement Awards. The Achievement Awards recognize programs that offer new services, improve the administration of an existing program, promote better training, more effective policy making, or intergovernmental cooperation.

Our government is committed to being innovative, equitable, transparent, and responsive to our residents, businesses and visitors. These awards honor the incredible work that is being done by our departments and employees. I want to thank our employees for their dedication which led to these Achievement Awards.

Council approves Silver Spring Plan and Modifies the Plan Boundary

I want to note my appreciation to the County Council for listening to the requests of many residents and myself to remove the adjacent communities from the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities Plan, retaining only a few properties where the owners participated in rezoning. The Council modified the boundary and moved most of the properties to the future Silver Spring Communities Plan. You can see the memo I sent the Council HERE.

Have a great week and a Happy Memorial Day.

As always, my appreciation for all you do.






Marc Elrich
County Executive

May 25, 2022

County Recreation Outdoor Pools to Open Memorial Day Weekend

County Recreation Outdoor Pools to Open Memorial Day Weekend
Montgomery County Recreation’s outdoor pool season will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 28, with its seven pools opening for the Memorial Day Weekend.

During the pre-summer season, from May 28-June 17, outdoor pool hours will be 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 3-6 p.m. on weekends and on Memorial Day.

During the summer season, from June 18-Aug. 14, outdoor pool hours will be 1-4 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. on weekdays, and noon-3 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. on weekends. The Upper County Pool will be closed on Fridays during the summer season. For more information about pool hours, visit the Montgomery County Recreation website.

The seven outdoor pools that will be open this summer are:
  • Bethesda Outdoor Pool, 301-652-1598. 6300 Hillandale Road, Bethesda.
  • Germantown Outdoor Pool, 240-777-8067. 18905 Kingsview Road, Germantown.
  • Long Branch Outdoor Pool, 301-431-5700. 8700 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Outdoor Pool, 240-777-8066. 1201 Jackson Road, Silver Spring.
  • Sara E. Auer Western County Outdoor Pool, 301-349-2217. 20151 Fisher Ave., Poolesville.
  • Sergeant Hector I. Ayala Wheaton/Glenmont Outdoor Pool, 301-929-5460. 12621 Dalewood Dr., Wheaton.
  • Upper County Outdoor Pool, 301-840-2446. 8211 Emory Grove Road, Gaithersburg.
Daily admission is $5 for County residents (ages 1-17), $7 for adults and $6 for seniors (ages 55 and over). Admission for visitors who live outside the County is $15.

As the summer swim season gets underway, residents are encouraged to become familiar with the safety rules posted at the pools.

Children are most at risk for water-related accidents and it is important they are always closely supervised while in and around the pool.

Because safety is a priority, it may be necessary to temporarily halt admission to pools when capacity is reached. Additional swimmers will be admitted as soon as space becomes available.

Pool visitors are allowed to bring food and drink to the pools, as long as they follow the rules/regulations. Glass items, barbeques and alcohol are prohibited. All coolers will be inspected.

For additional information about pool passes, amenities and hours of operation at all swimming pools, visit the Montgomery County Recreation website.

County Holiday Schedule for Memorial Day on Monday, May 30

County Holiday Schedule for Memorial Day on Monday, May 30
The Montgomery County Government will observe the following schedule changes for Memorial Day on Monday, May 30:
  • County offices—Closed.
  • State offices and courts—Closed.
  • State Motor Vehicle Administration offices and Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program stations—Closed.
  • Libraries—Closed.
  • Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS)—Most stores will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The Poolesville spirits-only story will be open noon-5 p.m.
  • Ride On—Will operate on a Sunday schedule using the new schedules that went into effect on May 8. Those schedules can be viewed at RideOnBus.com.
  • Ride On extRa and Flex—Not in service.
  • Flash—Will operate on a weekend schedule (Orange Line only).
  • MARC Train and Commuter Bus—No service.
  • MTA Local and Commuter Buses – No service on the commuter bus, except for Route 201 (will operate on a Weekend/Holiday schedule). Local bus will operate on a Sunday schedule. More information available here.
  • TRiPS Silver Spring commuter store—Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store—Closed.
  • Metrorail and Metrobus – Metrorail will operate on a Sunday/Holiday schedule between 7 a.m. and midnight. Trains will arrive every 12 minutes until 10 p.m., then every 18 minutes until closing. Metrobus will operate on a Sunday service. Information available here.
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters—Free.
  • County-collected trash and recycling—No County-provided trash or recycling collections will be made on May 30. After the holiday, pickups slide one day with last pick up on Saturday, June 4. More information is available at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/sws/holidays/.
  • Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station—Closed.
  • Recreation: County outdoor aquatic facilities will be open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 3-6 p.m. Indoor aquatic facilities will operate on a normal schedule.
  • Community recreation and senior centers—Closed.
  • Montgomery Parks—Visit www.MontgomeryParks.org for complete information.

Commission on Veterans Affairs Honors County’s Fallen Heroes from Military Action Dating Back to World War I With Online Tributes of Bios and Photos

Fallen Heroes from Military Action

The Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs is honoring many “Fallen Hometown Heroes” with County connections dating back to World War I with detailed tributes displayed on a special website created by the commission. The tribute is especially notable as the County prepares to commemorate Memorial Day on Monday, May 30.

The Commission on Veterans Affairs Fallen Hometown Heroes website honors veterans who were killed in action in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the Global War on Terrorism (including Operation Iraqi Freedom / Operation Enduring Freedom / Operation Inherent Resolve / Operation Freedom's Sentinel / Operation New Dawn). The website includes photos and military histories of Fallen Hometown Heroes who were either originally from the County or who lived in Montgomery after their service. The site can be viewed at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/fallenheroes.

“It seems that every day we are reminded of how our freedom is so special, and throughout the history of our nation, some special men and women have given their lives to protect that freedom,” said Wayne Miller, a Vietnam veteran who now chairs the County Commission on Veterans Affairs. “The Commission on Veterans Affairs wanted residents of all ages to know more about these people and our Fallen Heroes website is a great way to learn their fascinating and heroic stories.”

County Executive Marc Elrich said residents should take time to recognize the people who sacrificed their lives while serving the nation.

“Montgomery County is forever indebted to the men and women who served and gave their life in protection of our freedoms and liberty,” said County Executive Elrich. “As we honor those we lost in defense of our nation during the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend, I encourage all Montgomery County residents to explore this website and learn about our hometown heroes. This County will never forget them and their families for their ultimate sacrifice.”

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 about the tribute program can be directed to MCCVA@montgomerycountymd.gov.

The following information is needed on the forms:
  • Service member’s 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).
To learn more about the Montgomery Commission on Veterans Affairs, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/cva.

‘Flags for Our Heroes’ with More Than 700 American Flags on Display as Memorial Day Tribute Through Monday, May 30, at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg

‘Flags for Our Heroes’ with More Than 700 American Flags on Display as Memorial Day Tribute Through Monday, May 30, at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg
Flags for Our Heroes,” featuring an impressive display of more than 700 American flags, has returned to the lawn at Bohrer Park at Summit Hall Farm for Memorial Day Weekend through Monday, May 30. The flags, which are lit at night, can be viewed 24 hours a day. There is no charge to enter the park.

A formal opening ceremony for the display will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 28. Bohrer Park at Summit Hall Farm is located at 506 South Frederick Ave. in Gaithersburg, adjacent to Gaithersburg High School.

Flags for Our Heroes is organized by the Rotary Clubs of Gaithersburg, Montgomery Village and Historic Emory Grove. The display is hosted by the City of Gaithersburg.

Rockville Metro Station West Side Construction and Paving Will Lead to Temporary Bus Stop Closures and Relocations from May 31 through June 6

Rockville Metro Station West Side Construction and Paving Will Lead to Temporary Bus Stop Closures and Relocations from May 31 through June 6
Construction and paving work at the Rockville Metrorail Station will lead to Ride On and Metrobus bus stops on the West Side Kiss & Ride being closed and temporarily relocated from Sunday, May 31, through Monday, June 6.

All bus stops normally on the west side will be temporarily relocated to either the east side, on the street at MD 355, or one block over on Monroe Street in front of the Montgomery County Executive Office Building. Wayfinding signs will be placed at the Metro station to help riders locate their bus stops. Additionally, Ride On staff will be onsite at the station, for rider assistance.

Ride On routes that will be temporarily relocated at the Rockville Metro Station:
  • Route 44. Destination: Twinbrook. Temporary bus stop: T1.
  • Route 45. Destination: Rockville Regional Transit Center and Twinbrook. Temporary bus stop: D (eastside).
  • Route 46. Destination: Montgomery College and Medical Center Way. Temporary bus stop: T1.
  • Route 47. Destination: Bethesda. Temporary bus stop: T1.
  • Route 48. Destination: Wheaton. Temporary bus stop: B (eastside).
  • Route 49. Destination: Glenmont. Temporary bus stop: B (eastside).
  • Route 52: Destination: Montgomery General Hospital. Temporary bus stop: D (eastside).
  • Route 54. Destination: Lakeforest Transit Center. Temporary bus stop: T2.
  • Route 55. Destination: Germantown. Temporary bus stop: C (eastside).
  • Route 56. Destination: Lakeforest Transit Center. Temporary bus stop: T2.
  • Route 59. Montgomery Village. Temporary bus stop: C (eastside).
  • Route 63. Destination: Shady Grove. Temporary bus stop: T1.
  • Route 81. Destination: White Flint. Temporary bus stop: T1.
  • Route 101. Destination: Medical Center. Temporary bus stop: T3.
  • Route 101. Destination: Lakeforest. Temporary bus stop: G.
  • Route 301. Destination: Tobytown. Temporary bus stop: D (eastside).
  • Flex Rockville. On Demand Service. Temporary bus stop: T1.
Metrobus routes that will be temporarily relocated are:
  • Routes Q1, Q2, Q5, Q6. Destination: Shady Grove. Temporary bus stop: G.
  • Routes Q1, Q2, Q4. Destination: Silver Spring. Temporary bus stop: A (eastside).
  • Routes Q5, Q6. Destination: Wheaton. Temporary bus stop: A (eastside).
  • Route T2. Destination: Friendship Heights. Temporary bus stop: A (eastside).
Bus interiors will continue to be cleaned by the County’s Department of General Services with hospital-grade disinfectant. Bus filter and ventilation systems also are treated with a disinfectant.

Passengers are encouraged to wear face coverings when traveling by public transportation. MCDOT buses have a supply of face coverings for those who cannot provide their own.

Ride On bus service will remain free until July 2.

For the most up-to-date service information, riders should follow @RideOnMCT on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. In addition, information is available at RideOnBus.com, by subscribing to receive email alerts at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/govdelivery, or texting MONTGOMERY RIDEON to 468311 to receive text alerts.

Twilight Tuesdays’ Will Have a Wide Range of Free Music and Entertainment on Veterans Plaza in Downtown Silver Spring Throughout the Spring

‘Twilight Tuesdays’ Will Have a Wide Range of Free Music and Entertainment on Veterans Plaza in Downtown Silver Spring Throughout the Spring

A wide range of free music and entertainment will be featured on Veterans Plaza in Downtown Silver Spring throughout the spring in the “Twilight Tuesdays” series presented by Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. The next scheduled event, on Tuesday, May 31, will be “Silver Spring Flow Arts Night” hosted by James Small. The music will be by DJ Gatleeng.

Each Twilight Tuesdays event will run from 7-9 p.m. Veterans Plaza is located at One Veterans Place in Silver Spring, adjacent to the Silver Spring Civic Building. Parking is available nearby and the plaza is an easy walk from the Silver Spring Metrorail Station on the Red Line.

The schedule for Twilight Tuesdays will include:
  • May 31: Silver Spring Flow Arts Night. Hosted by James Small. Music by DJ Gatleeng (electronic house, funk, bass and modern Latin dance).
  • June 7: Latin dancing with AM Salsa and Danceintime (part of First Tuesday events).
  • June 14: Special performance for Silver Spring Blues Week.
For more information on Twilight Tuesdays and other Silver Spring events, go to www.silverspringtowncenter.com.

 COVID-19 Updates: Boosters Available for 5-11 Year Olds, Multiple Testing Options Available, Continue Preventative Measures as COVID-19 Has Not Ended        

GoVAX
Additional COVID-19 booster shots for children ages 5-11 were recently approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and County-operated clinics are providing them for children who had their second dose at least five months ago.

Pfizer vaccine is currently the only vaccine approved for those under age 18.

County-operated clinics can be found at www.GoVaxMoco.com. Appointments are recommended, but walk-ins will be accommodated depending on vaccine supply.      

Free At-home COVID-19 PCR Test Kits Available at Multiple Locations, But Which COVID-19 Test is Right for You?     

Montgomery County residents have several ways to get tested for COVID-19:
  • At-Home Rapid Antigen tests are recommended for those with COVID-19 symptoms. Results are available in 15 minutes. The County continues to provide free at-home rapid test kits at 19 library locations. Residents can pick up two free test kits and results can be reported online. Find information about test kits and where to pick them up at www.MoCoCOVIDTesting.
  • At-Home PCR tests are available at six locations in the community. The self-tests are recommended for individuals with COVID-19 exposure, but who have no symptoms. They can also be used for those who need verified results for travel or work. 
  • Pick up a test at one of the six locations, complete the test at home, register online and return to a drop box located outside of each pick up site. If tests are dropped off by 5 p.m., results are typically emailed the next day. Residents may pick up one test kit. Additional information about where to pick up the tests and instructions on using them is available on the County’s website.
In-person PCR testing continues at multiple sites throughout the community. A schedule of testing locations can be found at the County’s website.    

The number of new COVID-19 cases has increased in Montgomery for the past several weeks—even among vaccinated individuals.The County’s Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC recommend the following steps to help protect you and slow the spread of COVID-19:
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, including booster-shots
    • Booster shots are the best way to minimize the risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
    • Since January, people 50 and older who were vaccinated, but not boosted, were two to three times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19 than those who were fully boosted. (CDC Data).
  • Wear a well-fitting mask around others
    • If you have symptoms, a positive test or exposure to someone with COVID-19.
    • When on public transportation.
    • As an additional precaution to protect yourself and others, during visits to congregate indoor spaces with limited social distancing and ventilation.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms or are exposed
    • Consider rapid or PCR testing after returning from travel or large gatherings.
    • If you have a positive test result, let your recent close contacts know. 
If you are high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, wear a mask indoors in public settings. In addition, talk to your healthcare provider about additional precautions and whether you are a candidate for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP and monoclonal antibodies.
which test is right for me?


Community Meetings Being Held In-Person to Address Progress of Purple Line Construction

Community Meetings Being Held In-Person to Address Progress of Purple Line Construction
Progress of continuing work on the Purple Line, including introduction of the new contractor, are the focus of a series of in-person meetings being held by the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA). The State department is managing the project.

The meetings are open to the public and questions are permitted during the question-and-answer portion of the meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7, at North Chevy Chase Elementary School. The school is located at
3700 Jones Bridge Road in Chevy Chase.

The Purple Line will be a 16-mile light rail line that will extend from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George's County. It will provide a direct connection to the Metrorail Red, Green and Orange Lines at Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park, and New Carrollton. The Purple Line also will connect to MARC, Amtrak and local bus services. The revised planned completion date is 2026.

MDOT MTA is planning community meetings, open houses and Community Advisory Meetings (CATs) to give residents updates on the Purple Line. Additional information is available on the project’s website at purplelinemd.com/upcoming-meetings.

At the meetings, MDOT MTA will introduce the community to the new design-build contractor, Maryland Transit Solutions (MTS). Meeting attendees also will have the opportunity to ask questions and hear updates.

Among the issues that will be discussed are ongoing construction activities and the maintenance of traffic during construction (including planned detours, if applicable.

The schedule of future community meetings regarding the Purple Line:
  • Bethesda/Chevy Chase (CAT). Tuesday, June 7, 7-8:30 p.m. North Chevy Chase Elementary School, 3700 Jones Bridge Road, Chevy Chase.
  • Greater Lyttonsville/Woodside (CAT). Tuesday, June 14, 7-8:30 p.m. Rosemary Hills Elementary School, 2111 Porter Road, Silver Spring.
  • Silver Spring (CAT). Tuesday, June 21, 7-8:30 p.m. Silver Spring International Middle School, 313 Wayne Avenue Silver Spring.
  • Long Branch (CAT). Tuesday, June 28, 6:30-8 p.m. Oak View Elementary School,
  • 400 East Wayne Ave., Silver Spring.
The Purple Line team is returning to in-person meetings to engage in meaningful dialogue about the project. Specific questions also can be sent to MDOT MTA’s Outreach Team 10 days in advance of a meeting date. The Purple Line Outreach Team can be contacted at 443-451-3706 or via email at outreach@purplelinemd.com.

Learn more about the Purple Line project here.

‘Mapping Gaithersburg: From Wilderness to Metropolis’ Will Be the Focus of a Montgomery History Online Presentation Available Starting Monday, May 30

Rewind – Mapping Gaithersburg: From Wilderness to Metropolis
“Mapping Gaithersburg: From Wilderness to Metropolis” will be featured in a Montgomery History online presentation that will be available starting Monday, May 30.

The show will explore the history and development of Gaithersburg through maps and the census. Karen Yaffe Lottes, who is the historian, educator and program coordinator for the Gaithersburg Community Museum, will host the presentation and bind the details.

The presentation will be available for viewing for one week. No registration is required.

To access the presentation, go to » WATCH (montgomeryhistory.org).

Winners of Montgomery County ’Paint the Plow’ Middle School Snowplow Naming Art Contest Announced

Winners of Montgomery County ’Paint the Plow’ Middle School Snowplow Naming Art Contest Announced
John Poole Middle School in Poolesville was selected as the winner of the first-ever Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) ‘Paint the Plow’ middle school snowplow naming contest. The winning design had a comic theme and featured the words “Kaplow.”

Teams from 14 Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) middle schools participated in the contest. Snowplows and paint supplies were delivered by MCDOT to each school and the student teams had four days to name and decorate their snowplows.

A team from Kingsview Middle School in Germantown was selected as the second-place winner with its decorated snowplow “Melted.” A team from Eastern Middle School of Silver Spring was named the third-place winner for its decorated plow “Be Transformed.”

The decorated plows will be part of the MCDOT fleet that will be clearing snow from streets this winter.

The winners were named as MCDOT concluded its events to celebrate “Public Works Week” to honor essential workers. During the special week, MCDOT recognized the employees of its Division of Highway Services with a social media campaign and the Paint the Plow contest. The entries to the contest were showcased at the MCDOT family ‘Truck Day’ event held on Saturday, May 21. Attendees were asked to vote for their favorite snowplow name and design.

The winners selected were:
  • First place and awarded $300: John Poole Middle School for its decorated snowplow named “Kaplow.”
  • Second place and awarded $200: Kingsview Middle School for its decorated snowplow named “Melted.”
  • Third place and awarded $100: Eastern Middle School for its decorated snowplow named “Be Transformed.”
“This fun event is a great way to celebrate National Public Works Week and to recognize the dedication and hard work that our employees do to keep the County’s infrastructure functional and safe,” said County Executive Marc Elrich.” We are pleased to partner with MCPS and to see the creativity and talent from our students and teachers.”

The contest was a unique and fun way to introduce students to some of the work done by MCDOT.

“This contest was a fun way to involve our local students in Public Works Week and it was fun for everyone to see the creative names and designs they came up with,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “Residents should look out for these decorated snowplows when we are clearing snow off County roadways this winter.”

Pictures of the painted plows can be viewed on MCDOT social media platforms listed below.

For more information on MCDOT programs and services visit montgomerycountymd.gov/mcdot, follow @MCDOTNow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to MCDOT’s “Go Montgomery!” newsletter.

‘Keeping It Safe Coalition’ Names Student Video Contest Winners and Recipients of Community Service Awards

‘Keeping It Safe Coalition’ Names Student Video Contest Winners and Recipients of Community Service Awards
Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) and the Montgomery County Police Department have announced the high school and middle school winners of the 2021-22 “Keeping it Safe Coalition” student video contest. The annual contest encouraged teams from Montgomery County public and private schools to create 30-second public service announcements to educate young people about the risks of under-21 alcohol use.

The winning entries will receive cash prizes for their affiliated school. In this year’s contest, 75 videos were submitted from 38 schools.

Founded in 1992, the Keeping It Safe Coalition (KIS) is an alliance of County departments, local organizations and concerned residents that work to deter underage alcohol access and use. The student video contest was funded by the Montgomery County Department of Police’s Traffic Division.

“Alcohol is the most widely used substance among America’s youth and under-21 drinking is a public health problem in the United States,” said ABS Director Kathie Durbin. “Video contests, such as this one, provide students with the opportunity to engage in advocacy with their peers and raise awareness about the dangers and consequences of under-21 drinking.”

Winning school groups were announced on May 19 through a virtual award ceremony.

The winning videos can be viewed from the ABS website.

The 2021-22 high school award winners:
  • First Place: Winston Churchill High School. Students Ida Chen and Isar Uslu. Will receive a $1,000 prize.
  • Second Place: Damascus High School. Students Helen Andino Carranza and Brandon Lopez-Ventura. With the collaboration of Jayson Andino Carranza from John T. Baker Middle School. Will receive a $500 prize.
  • Third Place: Northwood High School. Student Hailie Clark. Sponsoring teacher Iris Schwarz. Will receive a $350 prize.
  • Honorable Mention: Quince Orchard High School will receive a $100 prize.
The 2021-22 middle school award winners:
  • First Place: Briggs Chaney Middle School will receive a $500 prize.
  • Second Place: Westland Middle School. Students Alana Anantham, Noa Geller and Celia Markowitz. With the collaboration of Asher Anantham from Montgomery Blair High School. Will receive a $300 prize.
  • Third Place: Hallie Wells Middle School. Students Tia Daher and Hannah Matthew. Will receive a $250 prize.
  • Honorable Mention: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. Student Saesha Dhote. Sponsoring teacher Lisa Wroblewski. Will receive a $100 prize.
For the first time this year, Travel Television, a member of the Keeping It Safe Coalition, sponsored the Most Popular video award for both high school and middle school participants. The award recognized the video with the most online views and “likes.”

The Most Popular Video for High School and Middle school winner:
  • Paint Branch High School. Students Kwabena Appiah, Andres De La O Zelaya and James Abraham. Will receive $150, payable directly to the students.
The Keeping It Safe Coalition also presented the Walter Milam Memorial Law Enforcement Award to Lee Williams, an alcohol tobacco enforcement specialist with ABS’ Division of Licensure, Regulation and Education, for his work and commitment to under-21 alcohol prevention.

Through robust alcohol licensing, compliance and training programs, the Division of Licensing, Regulation, and Education (LRE) within ABS ensures the responsible sale and service of alcohol. LRE has been an active supporter of KIS for decades.

ABS is the alcohol wholesaler of beer, wine, and spirits for Montgomery County. ABS operates 25 beer, wine and spirits stores and one spirits-only store in Poolesville. It manages alcohol licensing, enforcement, and education for more than 1,000 businesses. Generating more than $35 million in net income annually, ABS profits are used to pay down County debt with a large portion deposited in the County general fund to pay for resident services that would otherwise be funded by County tax dollars.

Commission for Women Invites Residents to Its 50th Anniversary Picnic Celebration on Sunday, June 5, at Wheaton Regional Park

Commission for Women Invites Residents to Its 50th Anniversary Picnic Celebration on Sunday, June 5, at Wheaton Regional Park
This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Montgomery County Commission for Women (CFW). Join the CFW from 2-5 p.m. at Wheaton Regional Park on Sunday, June 5, to celebrate 50 years of the incredible work, accomplishments and triumphs of the Montgomery County Commission for Women.

The Commission strives to improve the lives of women in the County by identifying inequities in legislation and taking proactive measures to create remedies and solutions with elected officials and community groups.

Join the CFW for good music, fun and games. The event is free. Food will be available for purchase. For more information or to register for the event, visit https://cfw50.eventbrite.com.

Winning Entries Selected for Fifth Annual Commission for Women’s ‘Girl Power Contest’

Winning Entries Selected for Fifth Annual Commission for Women’s ‘Girl Power Contest’
Nuha Nadeem was named the winner in the high school category, Nubian Lloyd won the middle school category, Arya Krishman took top honors in the elementary school category and Pamela Gordimer was winner in the adult contest as the top entries were named in the Montgomery County Commission for Women’s fifth annual “Girl Power Contest.”

The Girl Power Contest was open to entries throughout March in celebration of Women’s History Month. This year, contestants were asked to submit written or artistic impressions that addressed the following questions: “What do you see as the three biggest accomplishments women have achieved over the last 50 years? What three accomplishments do you believe would make the biggest impact over the next 50 years?”

Commission for Women’s commissioners and representatives from Montgomery County Public Libraries judged more than 30 entries ranging from short stories to drawings based on creativity and content. Winners were selected from the categories of elementary, middle, high school and adult entries.

The winners and honorable mention recipients in each category, including a description of their entries:

Elementary
  • First Place: Arya Krishnan, Submission: Letter.
  • Honorable Mention: Julia Liao, Submission: Letter.
Middle School
  • First Place: Nubian Lloyd, Submission: Letter.
  • Honorable Mention: Sara Benachenhou, Submission: Poem.
High School
  • First Place: Nuha Nadeem, Submission: Poem.
  • Honorable Mention: Yoksha Muruganantham, Submission: Poem.
Adult
  • First Place: Pamela Gordimer, Submission: Painting.
  • Honorable Mention: Natalie Jean, Submission: Song.
The contest was sponsored by the Montgomery County Commission for Women, Montgomery County Public Libraries and Friends of the Library.

All contest winners will be featured on the Commission for Women’s website and social media. They also will receive a Commission for Women’s Swag Bag.

For more information about the Commission for Women, visit its website.

Wheaton Arts Parade Gallery Seeks Entries by May 30 for ‘Spirit of Summer’ Show at Westfield Wheaton




The Wheaton Arts Parade Gallery is seeking artist entries for a new eight-week show entitled “Spirit of Summer” that will run from June 10-July 31 at Westfield Wheaton. The exhibit will feature the works of 20-25 artists and offer the opportunity for them to sell their original, professional quality artwork. Entries must be submitted by Monday, May 30.

For the Spirit of Summer show, the gallery is seeking works that display the artists’ interpretations and impressions of the summer season marked by vacation getaways, June as Pride Month, the Solstice, Independence Day and more.

There is no fee to apply for the show. Details about the show and the registration form can be found at https://tinyurl.com/5c8cbdxt.

The Wheaton Arts Parade Gallery is located at Westfield Wheaton mall’s lower level Entrance 11. Westfield Wheaton is located at 11160 Veirs Mill Road in Wheaton.

Artists from throughout the Maryland-D.C.-Virginia area who work in all types of media are eligible to apply for the show. Artists also must be able to volunteer to "gallery sit" for at least 18 hours during the exhibition.

May 19, 2022

Message from the County Executive



Dear Friends,

This week has been a very tragic one for our nation following the heinous hate crime against a Black community in Buffalo and a sad week here in Montgomery County following the passing of our 3rd County Executive, Sidney Kramer.

Hate has no home in Montgomery County:

In wake of the senseless mass shooting in Buffalo, many in our community remained very concerned about the rise of hate crimes. People are increasingly feeling insecure about being able to move freely about our communities. We cannot allow this to be tolerated or to become “normalized.” Here in Montgomery County, we have repeated and continue to repeat that we are proud of and welcome our diversity and that the diversity makes us stronger. It has been reported that the shooter justified the killing based on the garbage “Replacement Theory” - there is no replacement of anyone planned – the last replacement event in North America was when Native peoples were replaced by Europeans. Along with the demonization of Critical Race Theory, otherwise known as factual “history” to most of us, these are attacks on efforts to build an inclusive and unbiased community where all are valued and all are safe.

I agree with President Biden when he calls on the nation “to give hate no safe harbor.” Montgomery County will provide no safe haven for hate and we will aggressively pursue and prosecute perpetrators of hate crimes. During the pandemic and before it, Montgomery County has seen its share of hate crimes. There is never a good excuse to target any group, whether it be Asian Americans, Hispanics, LGBTQ, Muslims, African Americans or any other.

The Montgomery County State's Attorney Office has launched an initiative called “Stop the Hate” to make it easier for victims to come forward and report these incidents but sadly we know many will not. Please take a look at this initiative and learn to help identify what a hate crime is under state law and what to do if you believe you've witnessed one.

Let's keep what happed in Buffalo in mind as we move forward and remember that hate has no home in Montgomery County.

COVID rates continue to climb, County recommends more vigilance, wearing masks indoors, and getting boosted:

Our COVID case rates have exceeded over 350 per 100K residents. Our positivity rate and hospitalization rates also continue to increase. And these numbers do not account for the unreported cases that have been identified through rapid testing. We are currently leading the state in case rates, but we have the lowest test positivity rate in the state because we are testing at a much higher rate than our neighboring jurisdictions and, hence discovering more cases.



Additionally, outbreaks in schools statewide are up nearly 85 percent from last week while total cases tied to schools across Maryland are up more than 60 percent over the last seven days. We encourage everyone to pick up free at-home test kits available at all county libraries and other locations.

It is time for increased vigilance. We released a statement earlier this week reiterating the message that we’ve consistently made remain vigilant. Mask wearing is encouraged in congregate places and indoor spaces with limited social distancing.

Despite rising case counts, Montgomery County is in a much better place than we were during some of the previous waves. Montgomery County has one of the highest vaccination rates in the nation and viral treatments for COVID are now available which should have a positive impact on hospitalization and fatality numbers as this latest wave of cases continues.

Our message to parents is to keep your kids and yourselves up to date on vaccinations. If the time has come to get a booster shot, do it. The effectiveness of the shots fade over time. Up-to-date vaccines help prevent quarantines and they can help the combat that amount of community spread that we’ve already seen put us in the moderate risk category. Since January, people 50 years and older who were vaccinated but NOT boosted were 2 to 3 times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19 than those who were fully boosted.

Booster shots for children 5-11 approved by FDA

This week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pfizer’s request for a covid booster shot for children 5 and up, and we expect CDC and MDH approval in the next few days. The County will be ready to take on that challenge just as we have previously. We don’t want to reach the high category again. We don’t want to see more of our friends and neighbors worry about their loved ones because of this virus.

The best protection against COVID is being vaccinated and boosted, please visit govaxmoco.com to find out where you can get your booster.

Saying thanks to those we count on - it’s National Police, Public Works, and EMS Week

This week is National Police Week, EMS Week, and Public Works Week and I am grateful to the thousands of employees in these departments who serve our communities. We count on these employees every hour of every day, every day of the week, and every week of the year. They are the backbone of our government and I encourage all residents to take a moment to thank them for their service.

Last weekend, I attended MCPD’s “Community Day” where thousands of residents showed up at the Fairgrounds to interact, engage, and thank our officers for their service as well as helped kick off MCPD’s 100th Anniversary this year. MCFRS held a ceremony this week honoring our EMS and EMT heroic actions. And our MCDOT will conclude Public Works Week with a free, family-friendly “Truck Day” event on Saturday, May 21, that will allow the public to tour and sit in County-owned vehicles. Truck Day will take place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the MCDOT Gaithersburg Depot

An exciting weekend of festivals in Silver Spring and Takoma Park for foodies:

This Sunday, May 22nd, Montgomery County will be hosting two incredible food festival events that will feature a diversity of cuisines and scrumptious treats.

In Silver Spring, this is the 12th year of Taste the World in Fenton Village (TTWFV) - the largest restaurant crawl in the Metro area that will take place on Sunday from Noon to 5pm. This marquee event draws food lovers from throughout the area with the promise of samples at more than 30 different restaurants representing international food from five continents. Taste The World provides a great opportunity for attendees to try delicious food from across the globe, while supporting locally-owned, small businesses and exploring the wonderful Fenton Village neighborhood in Silver Spring.

Additionally, in Takoma Park on Sunday, from 10am to 3pm, will be the 1st Annual Crossroads Community Food Fair. This festival will feature delicious hyper-local food and community fun as the talented “foodpreneurs” of the TPSS Community Kitchen pop up along Laurel Avenue in Takoma Park. An incredible variety of sweet and savory foods and drinks will be on hand from 15+ food businesses based in Takoma Park including tacos, pupusas, pizza, empanadas, superfood bowls and salads, waffles, cold-pressed juices, baked goods, artisanal chocolate and cotton candy, and healthy snacks.

‘Kidding around’ has never been so important:

Last weekend, we opened the exciting new IgnITe Hub. This weekend, we have another exciting grand opening of a facility that is going to provide even more educational resources and fun to our students. Beginning May 22, 2022, KID Museum Bethesda Metro Center will be open to the public on Sundays for general admission where kids and families can enter a magical forest of light, build a lifesize maze using cardboard and fasteners, work with visiting artists, and more. In addition, KID Museum will host 10 weeks of summer camp with activities designed and led by professional maker educators.

Through hands-on programs, KID Museum challenges young people to be active makers, building agency, confidence, and creative problem-solving skills. KID Museum designs and delivers programs across the full continuum of learning for K-8 students in partnership with educators and schools. KID Museum’s weekend onsite programs, community events, and live, virtual sessions encourage families to learn and explore together. For more information, please visit www.kid-museum.org

Downtown Silver Spring and Adjacent Communities Plan under Review

The County Council is poised to take final action on the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities Plan. I have sent a memo to the County Council expressing my concerns with the current draft of the Plan; you can read my memo HERE

Rest in Peace, County Executive Kramer:

As I mentioned at the beginning of this week’s letter, it has been a sad week following the passing of Montgomery County’s 3rd County Executive, Sidney Kramer. Sidney worked for the residents of Montgomery County as a Councilmember and a state Senator before becoming the third Montgomery County Executive – serving from 1986-1990. His energy, passion, and willingness to speak frankly on important issues like education, business policy and mental health were an important part of his contributions to this community. He’ll also be remembered as a strong advocate for seniors.

My thoughts are with Sidney’s children Miriam, Rona, and Ben Kramer who have continued their father’s legacy of public service as well as to his grandchildren. May he rest in peace after serving his community so well for so long.

As always, my appreciation for all you do.






Marc Elrich
County Executive

May 17, 2022

COVID-19 Cases Rising Again, So County Recommends Precautionary Measures to Protect Against Greater Community Spread of Virus



The number of COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County and the Washington Region is rising again, leading County officials to offer precautionary recommendations to prevent further community spread of the virus. The increase in transmission, both within the County and in other jurisdictions around the region, has outpaced the rise in other parts of Maryland.

“Our current surge in cases is lasting longer than expected, which leaves more people at-risk of being exposed to COVID-19,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “I encourage everyone to wear masks indoors in public spaces when possible as well as continue to use our ample testing and vaccination resources we have in the County. I know we are all tired of this virus, but the virus is not tired of us. If we keep doing our individual parts, as a community, we can tamp down this increase in the case rate and avoid going back to days of more restrictive measures.”

The County’s COVID-19 case rate has risen steadily over the last month and is now more than triple the recent low on March 15. Although the County is currently an area of “low level community transmission,” as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the case rate is quickly approaching medium-level community transmission. There has not been a commensurate increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the County, but there is concern about the impact that holiday gatherings may have on transmission.

Based on the advice of Acting Health Officer James Bridgers, it is strongly recommended that residents voluntarily engage in the following precautionary measures to slow transmission, protect most vulnerable populations and keep hospitalizations down:
  • Use a well-fitting face covering during visits to congregate places and indoor spaces with limited social distancing.
  • Use testing and test-to-treat antiviral medication after returning from travel or gatherings.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, including booster-shots.
Even with the end of the County indoor mask mandate in February, health officials continued to strongly encourage the use of masks indoors to reduce the risk of transmission. Businesses and other organizations can continue to require customers or visitors to wear a mask in their establishments.

The County continues to strongly recommend that front-facing staff who have not received their booster shots and visitors in County Government offices and facilities continue to wear a mask in publicly accessible areas. The CDC also recommends that individuals who are unvaccinated should continue to wear masks when indoors or in crowded areas to minimize the potential spread of the virus.

Visit the County’s COVID-19 data dashboard to review the latest metrics and key indicators. Find additional information on masks and transmission levels on the COVID-19 website.

Free vaccination clinics can be found 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.


Montgomery Has the Highest Recycling Rate in State, According to Maryland Department of the Environment



Montgomery County’s recycling rate of 58.94 percent of solid waste created tops all other counties in Maryland, according to statistics released by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). The report was for 2020, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

The MDE report also shows that the County is leading the State in waste diversion, which includes preventing waste before it occurs. The County’s waste diversion rate is 63.94 percent.

In 2020, Montgomery County recycled 764,375 tons of materials, including glass, metals, paper, plastic and compostable items. The County is constantly increasing its recycling rate. In 2019, the rate for recycling in Montgomery County was 58.17 percent and in 2018 the recycling rate was 56.91 percent.

Cecil County was second to Montgomery County with a recycling rate of 58.69 percent and Mid-Shore Counties—which include Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot—came in third with a rate of 49.37 percent.

The County remains focused on meeting its existing goals to reduce waste and recycle more, aiming toward zero waste.

Waste diversion encompasses recycling and reducing trash. It also includes credits given for programs that encourage residents and businesses to prevent waste, such as the County Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) backyard food scraps composting project and the commercial food scraps recycling partnership program.

“I am proud of what Montgomery County has achieved by recycling, reducing and preventing waste,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “The goal of the County’s Climate Action Plan is reducing communitywide greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent over the next five years and 100 percent by 2035. All of us—residents, businesses and our County government—are working together toward achieving zero waste over the next 13 years. Fighting climate change takes a village and this news is a testament that we are moving in the right direction.”

Under the Maryland Recycling Act, Montgomery County is required to recycle 35 percent of its waste. The County is surpassing that by nearly 25 percent.

“I am so proud of Montgomery County residents and businesses for attaining the highest recycling rate in the State of Maryland,” said County DEP Acting Director and Climate Change Officer Adriana Hochberg. “When we all pitch in and do our part in consuming less and recycling and composting more, it adds up to big results for our environment and for our collective well-being.”

Recycling and waste prevention programs are key to reaching zero waste in Montgomery County. To learn more about the county’s recycling programs, visit https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/sws/recycle-right/.


IgnITe Hub Grand Opening in Rockville Spotlights County's Newest Center for Innovation and Cutting-Edge Technology


Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, County Councilmember Craig Rice, Montgomery College President Jermaine F. Williams, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Superintendent Monifa B. McKnight and representatives from Apple, Inc. were among those recently joining MCPS students, business leaders and community members to celebrate the grand opening of the ignITe Hub at Montgomery College’s Rockville campus.

The brand-new facility provides a physical and virtual space where students, lifelong learners, faculty, local business owners and community members can grow their technology and coding skills, learn to create apps, collaborate to solve problems and create or improve existing products and services.

The ignITe Hub was made possible through a partnership with Montgomery County Government, Montgomery College, MCPS, the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) and Apple.

“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the IT field is set to grow by 13 percent from 2020 to 2030—higher than the average for all occupations,” said County Executive Elrich. “IgnITe Hub is an innovative and important project that will engage students of all ages to improve their skills, become career-ready and help local nonprofits and small businesses with application development support. This project is a win for our economy, educational system, local entrepreneurs, nonprofits and any of our other residents who want to expand their knowledge and expertise in the IT fields.”

The innovative new space features learning pods, state-of-the-art Apple technology and instructional classes on technology skills such as app coding and design.

“I am proud of the dedication and hard work of the ignITe Hub’s partners. This grand opening would not have been possible without a shared vision for a more technologically advanced workforce,” Councilmember Rice said. “The community will greatly benefit from the wealth of resources offered by our leaders in education and workforce development. The ignITe Hub is critical to creating a strong talent pipeline into the tech industry and effectively supporting entrepreneurship. The Hub welcomes all County residents who seek to advance their career and educational aspirations.”

The ignITe Hub, powered by Montgomery Can Code, will equip community members with the knowledge and skills to succeed in the 21st Century, empowering the next generation of IT professionals.

“Montgomery College is thrilled to be a part of this unique workforce and economic development partnership,” Dr. Williams said. “Creating an equitable, inclusive, tech-empowered Montgomery County is a shared goal and we are excited to be a part of that effort. Serving the needs of business start-ups, as well as residents seeking in-demand skills and good jobs, the ignITe Hub will extend the work of Montgomery Can Code to the entire County. The College is proud to be a workforce anchor and catalyst for innovation in our community.”

The grand opening event featured a tour of the new space and live coding demonstrations by MCPS middle and high school students, who showcased apps they developed through the Montgomery Can Code program.

“What a fantastic and innovative new technology space that will support students in Montgomery County,” said Dr. McKnight. “Equipped with new and innovative tools and programs, this valuable community asset will inspire our youth that will benefit not only their learning, but the community in the future. It is through these types of opportunities that we can truly prepare them to thrive.”

Apple is an enthusiastic partner in the Hub.

“Apple believes education can be a powerful force for equity, and technology can inspire creativity and community building for all learners,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Education and Enterprise Marketing. “This is an exciting step for the Montgomery Can Code partnership that will bring coding and app development to the broader community. We can’t wait to see the incredible things that will be developed at the ignITe innovation hub in Montgomery County.”

More information on the services and opportunities available at the ignITe Hub can be found at ignitehubmc.com/.

Watch the grand opening video here.

Gaithersburg Book Festival Returns as In-Person Free Event with More Than 120 Authors, Writing Workshops and Children’s Village on Saturday, May 21


The Gaithersburg Book Festival will return as an in-person free event from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, at its new, larger location at Bohrer Park at Summit Hall Farm in Gaithersburg. The festival will feature more than 120 best-selling and award-winning authors.

Bohrer Park is located at 506 S. Frederick Ave. in Gaithersburg. There will be satellite parking at nearby Gaithersburg High School at 101 Education Blvd. In addition, there will be free accessible shuttle service from the parking lot at Lakeforest Mall and from the Shady Grove Metrorail Station.

The lineup of best-selling authors will include Reyna Grande, Jamie Raskin, John Scalzi, Jocelyn Nicole Johnson, Peter H. Reynolds, Karen Joy Fowler, Adam Schiff and John Feinstein. Along with other authors, they will be participating in presentations, panel discussions and book signings throughout the day. Their books will be on sale at the on-site Politics & Prose Book Store.

In addition to listening to and meeting authors, the festival will feature hourly free writing skills workshops.

The festival also continues its tradition of cultivating a love of books amongst young readers. The Children's Village will feature presentations by renowned children's and young adult authors, stage performances, multi-lingual storytelling, craft activities and word games.

More information about the festival is available at www.gaithersburgbookfestival.org.

‘Bike to Work Day’ Will be Held on Friday, May 20, with Montgomery County Once Again Fully Involved



The Washington Region’s annual support of national Bike to Work Day will be held on Friday, May 20, and Montgomery County intends to be fully involved once again. Registration for the event is now open. The first 15,000 bicyclists who register and participate will get a free T-shirt and are automatically entered into a raffle for a chance to win a new bike.

The event is held across the nation on the third Friday of May to celebrate bicycling as a clean, fun and healthy way to get to work. Bike riders in Montgomery County can stop by one of the six pit stops sponsored by the County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) for refreshments, to listen to music and visit local vendor displays during varying times on May 20. MCDOT’s pitstops will all begin at 6:30 a.m. and run until either 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m. There will be free raffle prizes throughout the morning and two new bikes will be raffled off as grand prizes at each MCDOT-sponsored pit stop. Registration is required. Teleworkers and leisure riders are encouraged to participate.

"With the change in weather and rising gas prices, biking to work is a great way to save money and get exercise,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “It’s a healthy and fun way to travel and it is good for our environment. Biking can help expand mobility in the County while reducing carbon emissions. I encourage residents to give it a try—even for a short trip.”

The Metropolitan Council of Government’s Commuter Connections, a network of transportation organizations in which MCDOT participates, and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) are the co-organizers of the Washington Region’s Bike to Work Day event. All participants should visit the Find Your Pit Stop Map to plan a route in advance.

MCDOT-sponsored pit stops will be at the following locations:
The events from the previous two years were modified to avoid gathering because of COVID-19. Giveaways were distributed through 15 bike shops throughout the County in place of the lively pit stops.

“We are glad to get back to our traditional celebration this year,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “This is a fun event that we hope residents will enjoy participating in. Our County has over 100 miles of bike lanes, with over five miles of protected bike lanes, and that network is growing. With spring coming, Bike to Work Day is a good reminder to get your bike cleaned up and ready for use this season.”

All riders are encouraged to wear a helmet.