April 28, 2022

Message from the County Executive

Dear Friends,

This week we are concluding celebrating April as Earth Month. From our Energy Summit at the beginning of the month to our popular Greenfest event last weekend, we have been celebrating Earth Month with educational events and fun activities. We also launched our first trash trap to help waterways stay clean and celebrated the Maryland General Assembly passing the Climate Solutions Now Act and increasing funding to expand our Bus Rapid Transit system. I am looking forward to signing our Building Energy Performance Standards, or BEPS, legislation into law on Monday.

I want to thank our Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation, Department of General Services and the County Libraries and Recreation departments for their hard work and advocacy during Earth month—as well as every day of the year.

On a personal note, I am concluding Earth Month with the installation of solar panels on my house. I am very excited to have my home powered by this clean and renewable energy, and I look forward to seeing the impact it will have on my energy bills. If you are interested in solar for your home, there are Maryland tax credit programs available for residential solar installation, as well as opportunities to be a part of a solar co-op.

Although Earth Month is ending, our commitment to sustainability in our government and throughout our communities will continue. Rachel Carson wrote in Silent Spring, “In nature, nothing exists alone.” Montgomery County residents understand that the air we breathe, the water we use and the food we consume are all connected, and we must ensure that this planet is survivable for future generations.

Despite Recent Surge in COVID-19 Cases, County Hospitalization Rates Remain Low

Our COVID-19 case rates and positivity rates continue to increase, but the good news is that our hospitalization rates remain low. Currently, Montgomery County is at “moderate” transmission levels of COVID, but remains in the “low” community level according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The current surge in cases is the first one since the pandemic began that is not creating increased strain on our hospital system. This is evidence that vaccines and treatments are effective protection from severe illness and hospitalization.

This week, Dr. Fauci said “Right now we’re at a low enough level that I believe that we’re transitioning into endemicity. … We’re not in the full-blown explosive pandemic phase. That does not mean that the pandemic is over.”

I appreciate Dr. Fauci’s point that while we may be transitioning into a new phase, this pandemic is not over. COVID is still in our community, and it is still spreading. With proms, graduations, end of the school year celebrations and Mother’s Day taking place in the weeks to come, people getting vaccinated and boosted remains a top priority. And if you travel or are around large numbers of people, please test yourself or get tested.

Bon Appetite! ‘MoCo Eats Week’ Continues

Visit Montgomery’s “MoCo Eats Week” continues through Saturday. There are deals and discounts at nearly 80 participating restaurants throughout the County.

Over the last two years, our restaurants have been hit hard, and while they have been innovative and adaptive, they are still feeling the effects of the pandemic. MoCo Eats Week is a great opportunity to demonstrate your support and appreciation for our restaurants and their employees who work in this industry in Montgomery County.

I also want to acknowledge the work of our Alcohol Beverage Services over the last two years. The pandemic has been a logistical, organizational, and staffing challenge for ABS. However, ABS has been innovative, efficient, and effective and quickly adapted their operations throughout while consistently improving customer service. ABS and Department of Health and Human Services inspectors went out as needed, including evenings and weekends, to ensure venues were safe for customers. They checked to make sure businesses were complying with our capacity, physical distancing and mask requirements at bars and restaurants during the height of COVID.

To assist businesses in keeping their doors open, we allocated nearly $12 million dollars in relief to support our restaurants. And through it all, the flexibility and adaptation our restaurants have exhibited during this crisis has been remarkable. Whether that has been through contactless carry out, the expansion of delivery services or the utilization of outdoor dining “Streeteries” program, these innovations have changed what we expect as customers and how the restaurants do business.

Most importantly, our restaurant owners and managers adherence to guidance and recommendations helped us become one of the safest communities from COVID. Many of our restaurants throughout the County donated food and assisted efforts to help our most impacted residents. We are grateful for their partnership and compassion.

County to Start ‘Crushing It’ in the Wine Industry

I brought the idea of a grape crush pad to the County more than a decade ago when, through a series of conversations, I realized that Montgomery County had the potential to create a wine industry that would be comparable to what we’ve seen develop in Northern Virginia. We have the soils, climate and farmland to create something significant—and our wineries are already demonstrating the ability to produce high-quality wine.

It feels great to see an idea come to fruition. This week, we held a groundbreaking ceremony for an exciting new development called “Crossvines “in Poolesville. Crossvines will be a combination of a winery, grape-crushing facility, events venue, restaurant and wine education center. Crossvines is expected to bring approximately $22 million of economic activity to Montgomery County. See photos from the groundbreaking event.

The facility will share land with the Poolesville Golf Course and is being built on an empty spot not currently used for golf. In addition to the vineyard, the plan is to construct a 16,500-square-foot clubhouse with a banquet and dining hall, a grape crushing facility, a malting and distilling facility, educational pavilion, picnic area and outdoor class space.

Crossvines is a collaboration between the Montgomery County Revenue Authority, the Universities at Shady Grove, and The University of Maryland Extension. Students will be able to study grape cultivation, vineyard management and winemaking at the new facility. Additionally, there will be a partnership with the Universities at Shady Grove to provide hands-on experiences for students in their agri-tourism, marketing, culinary arts and other related programs.

I am excited about this project and express my sincere appreciation to former County Executive Ike Leggett for his support and investments in this project. Crossvines will be a critical component for catalyzing the wine industry ,and hopefully, will bring the associated tourism that has emerged in other places in the country.

This project is one of its kind in our region and I am excited to see it open later this year.

Time to Thank a Teacher

Teacher Appreciation Week will be celebrated next week. I want to express my appreciation to our teachers. I was an elementary school teacher and I know how difficult it is to motivate children and keep them engaged. The pandemic has been extraordinarily difficult for our teachers—and all of our school staff—and what they have done over the last two years is impressive. No matter the unprecedented challenges they have faced, their focus on the education of students has not wavered.

Please join me and thank all our teachers for their service to our children and our communities.

Addressing School Safety

Montgomery County Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight and Police Chief Marcus Jones this week presented to the County Council the updated plans for the Community Engagement Officer program. The superintendent, chief and members of the County Council recognized and discussed the need to provide public safety resources for the students, appropriately address their mental health and welfare and deal with discipline issues separately from actual criminal behavior.

I was pleased to hear that MCPS is making progress on the hiring of social workers and psychologists that help with the emotional support of our students and de-escalate and prevent incidents from happening. The County provided the funding for additional mental health staff, but MCPS—like so many organizations—is having difficulty filling the positions.

Chief Jones was clear that police officers will not be patrolling hallways, intervening in school discipline issues, and, specifically, not arresting students for marijuana possession in MCPS school anymore.

These agreements and understandings are laid out in the memorandum of understanding, which was discussed at the Council earlier this week. I believe that we are moving forward in the right direction under this model.

We Shall ‘Never Forget’

We recognized Yom Hashoah, also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day this week. This date corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar and marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

We must never forget the six million Jewish people lost in the Holocaust, and we must continue to fight against hatred, antisemitism and oppression. As we see war atrocities in Europe and hate crimes here at home, we are reminded by the Holocaust what horrors fascism, racism, homophobia and religious persecution can lead to.

Montgomery County is a proud community of diversity and inclusion. Hate has no home here. We must continue to educate ourselves and families about the challenges and victories the people in our communities have faced. The more we understand and celebrate the history and contributions of each other, the stronger we will become as a County.

As always, my appreciation for all you do.

Marc Elrich
County Executive

‘MoCo Eats Week’ Continues Through Saturday, April 30, Providing Incentive to Visit Favorite Restaurants and Explore New Ones

‘MoCo Eats Week’ Continues Through Saturday, April 30, Providing Incentive to Visit Favorite Restaurants and Explore New Ones

“MoCo Eats Week,” which has already been an opportunity to visit favorite restaurants throughout Montgomery County and incentive to try new ones, will continue through Saturday, April 30. The special week of food, which is hosted by Visit Montgomery, includes a chance to win the “Ultimate Foodie Giveaway” valued at $1,000.

There are special deals at nearly 80 participating restaurants as the special week is focused on supporting food and beverage businesses of all sizes.

A digital passport is available for download to browse restaurants, map out a personalized food tour and to check-in at participating locations to be entered for a chance to win the Ultimate Foodie Giveaway.

More information about MoCo Eats Week and the restaurants participating is available at MoCoEats.com.

Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for ‘Crossvines’ Project in Poolesville That Will Have a Winery and Custom Crush, Special Events Facility and Bistro

Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for ‘Crossvines’ Project in Poolesville That Will Have a Winery and Custom Crush, Special Events Facility and Bistro

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council President Gabe Albornoz were among those joining the “Crossvines” development team, consisting of the Montgomery County Revenue Authority and lead developer Weller Development Company, on Thursday, April 28, to celebrate the start of construction of the new multi-purpose facility in Poolesville that will feature a custom grape-crushing facility, a casual bistro, a special events venue and a winery.

The Crossvines, which is located on the Revenue Authority property that also hosts the Poolesville Golf Course, will create economic opportunities and investment in agricultural tourism and the emerging wine-making industry in the County. It will strongly support new avenues for economic growth for properties in the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve.

Among those joining the formal groundbreaking ceremonies were County Councilmembers Andrew Friedson and Craig Rice; Maryland State Senator Brian Feldman; Poolesville Mayor Jim Brown; Craig Beyrouty, dean of College of the Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland; Keith Miller, CEO of the Montgomery County Revenue Authority; and Marc Weller, founding partner and CEO of Weller Development Company. See photos from the groundbreaking event.

“For the past two years, Montgomery County and the nation have been dominated by the impact of COVID-19, but we continued to plan for the future—and for our future economy,” said County Executive Elrich. “Crossvines is an exciting project that will change the economic prosperity of the Agricultural Reserve. As one of the only grape-crushing facilities in the region, this will open up opportunities for more landowners to grow profitable grapes and to explore winemaking as part of their future options.”

The Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve is one of the first agricultural reserves in the country. It accounts for more than one-quarter of the overall land in the County.

The Crossvines will have a custom crush facility. Its services will also be available to wine growers throughout the area.

“We are excited to welcome and introduce the region to The Crossvines,” said Mr. Miller. “The opportunities The Crossvines will create for local growers, the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve and the state’s tourism industry will be tremendous. We look forward to welcoming growers and visitors alike as Montgomery County establishes itself as a leader in the viniculture industry.”

The Crossvines will feature acreage developed for viniculture research, education, training and promotion in partnership with educational institutions. As part of the groundbreaking event, attendees had the opportunity to sample the first wine produced from grapes grown on the Poolesville facility’s research vineyard.

“When partnering with the Montgomery County Revenue Authority and hearing the vision for this project, we knew the opportunities for this state-of-the-art facility would be amazing,” said Mr. Weller. “We are excited to break ground to create a stunning destination with a private events venue, dining and wine-making facility. The impact it will have on Montgomery County and the State of Maryland will be tremendous, and we’re proud to play a role in helping the agricultural tourism, event services, and wine making industry sectors grow.”

The County Revenue Authority, which was created in 1957, was established to construct, improve, equip, furnish, maintain, acquire, operate and finance projects devoted wholly or partially for public use, good or general welfare. It operates nine public golf courses in the County and the Montgomery County Airpark.

Weller Development is a privately-owned real estate development firm led by Marc Weller, a senior real estate executive with more than 25 years of experience developing and building residential, commercial and mixed-use real estate projects. Weller Development is the lead developer of Port Covington, a 235-acre mixed-use redevelopment project in Baltimore City that is one of the largest urban revitalization efforts in the United States. For more information on Weller, visit www.wellerdevelopment.com.

Residents Invited to Virtual Community Forum on Wednesday, May 4, With Focus on New ‘Triage and Dispatch Protocol’ for Mental Health Crisis Response

Residents Invited to Virtual Community Forum on Tuesday, May 4, With Focus on  New ‘Triage and Dispatch Protocol’ for Mental Health Crisis Response
Montgomery County residents are invited to attend a virtual community forum from 7-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4, on a “Common Triage and Dispatch Protocol” that provides criteria for mobile crisis and outreach teams (MCOT) at the County’s Crisis Center. At the forum, residents can provide comments on the protocol that will guide how staff responds to mental health crises with and without police presence.

The forum will be held on the Teams Live platform and will be livestreamed on the County’s Facebook page. Join the event at https://bit.ly/commontriage. Teams Live offers translation into multiple languages through closed captioning.

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) staff will introduce and explain the Common Triage and Dispatch Protocol, followed by an open forum for questions and comments.

Speakers at the forum will be Raymond Crowel, director of DHHS; Marcus Jones, chief of the Montgomery County Police; Scott Goldstein, chief of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service; Rolando Santiago, the DHHS chief of Behavioral Health and Crisis Services (BHCS); Dorne Hill, the DHHS senior administrator for crisis, intake and trauma services; and Beth Tabachnick, manager of the DHHS Crisis Center.

MCOT responses to behavioral health crises without police presence represent a significant change toward a civilian response. The civilian response is designed after the Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets (CAHOOTS) model that has been successfully implemented in Eugene, Ore., for more than 30 years. In 2021, DHHS consulted with the White Bird Clinic (WBC) that runs the CAHOOTS model. Staff from WBC provided training to MCOT team members, homeless outreach workers, police, and other staff on de-escalation, scene safety, situational awareness, community engagement and trauma informed care.

To request sign language interpreter services or other assistance to participate in this meeting, email Dorne Hill at dorne.hill@montgomerycountymd.gov no less than five business days before the meeting date. 

MCPS Middle Students Can Now Register for Fourth Year of Free ‘Montgomery Can Code Camp,’ which Kicks Off on July 11 in Ongoing Public-Private Partnership

Registration is now open for Montgomery County Public Schools middle school students interested in attending the fourth year of the unique and innovative “Montgomery Can Code Camp” this summer. The free virtual program is a public-private partnership formed by Montgomery College, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) with Apple. It will offer an enriching and educational summer camp experience to learn computer coding.

The virtual, half-day camp enters this summer with a goal of tripling the number of program participants to 1,500 students. There will be five, weeklong Montgomery Can Code camps taking place from July 11 through Aug. 12, with a maximum of 300 students in each week-long session.

All virtual camps will run from 1-4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The camp schedule:
  • Boot Camp 1 – Monday-Friday, July 11-15
  • Boot Camp 2 – Monday-Friday, July 18-22
  • Boot Camp 3 – Monday-Friday, July 25-29
  • Boot Camp 4 – Monday-Friday, Aug. 1-5
  • Boot Camp 5 – Monday-Friday, Aug. 8-12
In addition to the scheduled sessions, there will be additional optional activities such as coding and prototype design in the mornings and afternoons outside of scheduled time.

Registration details and more information can be found at https://www.montgomerycancode.com/.

Students will learn the skills they need to pursue careers in today’s app economy by working in Swift, Apple’s open-source, easy-to-understand programming language. Students will experience the chance to solve real world problems by using coding skills they learn at the camp.

The Montgomery Can Code sessions are taught through Montgomery College’s Information Technology Institute by instructors trained in Swift code. Students receive a loaner iPad and a Montgomery Can Code T-shirt at the start of each session. At the week’s end, participants will receive a certificate of completion.

Students will pitch their app solutions in a Student App Showcase event following the conclusion of the camps.

“Montgomery Can Code is a direct investment in our students to make sure they are ready for a workforce that has already seen an increase in demand for highly skilled STEM workers,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “This collaboration between Montgomery College, MCPS, MCEDC and Apple has been expanding to serve more students over the past four years, and we are proud of what can be accomplished by working together.”

MCEDC will coordinate with local business leaders to interact with the students, adding a real-world element to the experience.

In a program extender, spring after-school coding clubs have been formed at select schools. Now in their second year, the after-school clubs give students additional coding experience.

"Montgomery Can Code embodies our County’s commitment to innovative learning that will prepare our children for the evolving workforce,” said County Councilmember Craig Rice, chair of the Council’s Education and Culture Committee. “Each year, we have increased the number of participants, giving more students the opportunity to develop a valuable skill set. I applaud Montgomery College, MCPS, MCEDC and Apple for their partnership in ensuring that every student can participate in the virtual environment. I’m confident that Montgomery Can Code will continue to thrive and grow thanks to the hard work of our program partners."

Learning code not only teaches the language of technology, it showcases new ways of thinking and prepares students for future careers. Local companies continue to search for highly skilled workers in fields like cybersecurity, app development, gaming, life sciences and hospitality technology. Early exposure to develop these skills provides students with a future advantage in being hired.

“Montgomery Can Code is an initiative that connects dots: .gov, .com, .edu and .org to address an important issue of creating homegrown talent for 1,000s of open IT jobs in our region while also advancing economic equity and inclusion,” said Sanjay Rai, senior vice president of academic affairs for Montgomery College. “Exposing middle schoolers to coding, app development, and complex problem solving will certainly create the next generation of IT professionals, and also the next generation of entrepreneurs who will expand our economy and create even more jobs. We are delighted that we are building on Montgomery Can Code by opening the new IgnITe Hub at Montgomery College. This new digital learning and innovation space will allow us to enhance our programs for middle schoolers while expanding opportunities to people of all ages including less affluent adults, college students and local businesses. We are having significant social and economic impact.”

The program is also important to the long-term goal of supporting the economic development future of the County.

“The Montgomery Can Code partnership with Apple continues to spotlight our commitment to invest in STEM educationto support our innovation-led economy,” said Benjamin H. Wu, president and CEO of MCEDC. “Each year, the program grows and provides important technical skills that are valued in today’s economy. We are proud of this partnership which brings together academia and the business community to invest in our future workforce.”

The Montgomery Can Code initiative adds to programs supported by MCPS.

“MCPS is thrilled to continue working with our partners to expand access for middle school students to the Montgomery Can Code summer camps and school-year coding clubs,” said Monifa McKnight, superintendent of schools. “We are committed to providing our students with engaging and innovative opportunities that build their skills and prepare them for the jobs of the future. We look forward to building upon these camps with new innovations through digital learning and the soon-to-be IgnITe Hub at Montgomery College.”

New Marriott International Headquarters and Hotel in Bethesda Named Maryland Economic Development ‘Project of the Year’

New Marriott International Headquarters and Hotel in Bethesda Named Maryland Economic Development ‘Project of the Year’

The new Marriott International Headquarters and Hotel in Downtown Bethesda was named “2022 Project of the Year” at the Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA) Awards, a state-wide recognition of significant projects and programs that bring economic prosperity to Maryland. The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC), with collaboration from the Maryland Department of Commerce, sponsored the Marriott HQ and Hotel nomination.

As the world’s largest hotelier and the biggest private sector employer in Montgomery County, Marriott International will be moving into its new 785,000-square-foot, 22-story global corporate headquarters later this summer. In March, the adjacent 245-room, 12-story Marriott Bethesda Downtown at Marriott HQ Hotel opened as the company’s 8,000th location.

MEDA announced that the Marriott HQ and Hotel project is recognized for “its environmentally sustainable design, coordination of partnerships and a projected $2.3 billion in business activity within its first year of opening. During the pandemic, Marriott International masterfully pivoted to address the urgent need to reimagine its workplace to accommodate significant changes in employee and customer preferences.”

Marriott International appreciated the award that reflects the detail that went into the project.

“Marriott is excited to move into our new Downtown Bethesda headquarters this summer and to carry on the proud legacy that has been built in Montgomery County, a community we have called home for more than 65 years,” said Carolyn B. Handlon, executive vice president and global treasurer of Marriott International, who accepted the award on behalf of the company. “We’re delighted with the recognition as Maryland’s ‘Project of the Year.’ We believe our new headquarters is truly the right place for our team of associates. We’ll be joining a vigorous and diverse community whose lively urban setting is exciting for all of us. As a proud corporate citizen, you can expect to see us continue to participate, volunteer and contribute to local and state civic life, including through our global social impact and sustainability platform, Serve 360.”

The project reflects an important part of the County’s economic development future.

“Marriott is a truly deserving honoree as the Maryland Project of the Year. They recognized early a growing reality that the way people work post-pandemic would change,” said Benjamin H. Wu, MCEDC president and CEO. “The scale and speed which they had to redesign and meet shifting workplace needs is without precedent for a Maryland company. Marriott adapted quickly to these new demands to maximize retention of its critical workforce. Despite the devastating COVID-19 impact on the hospitality sector, Marriott remained committed to not delay the project and they have delivered on-time. From employees to construction workers to suppliers to local restaurant and retail, this project has many beneficiaries and will be an economic driver in Montgomery County for decades to come.”

The project required the cooperation and teamwork of many sectors of State and local government.

“This important project is a terrific example of an effective state-local collaboration,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “In addition to the Marriott International headquarters, there are over 100 affiliated hotels in the state. With such a large State and local footprint, Marriott provides important economic benefits and job opportunities. Looking toward its future, the company wanted a relocation from its current offices to propel its success with the development of a 21st Century workforce. This project provides an attractive, functional, and creative new headquarters that will allow Marriott to attract and retain top talent in a very competitive industry.”

County to Celebrate Arbor Day by Commemorating the New County Tree on Friday, April 29, in Silver Spring


County to Celebrate Arbor Day by Commemorating the New County Tree on Friday, April 29, in Silver Spring

Montgomery County will celebrate Arbor Day by commemorating the black tupelo as the new County tree. The County’s departments of Environmental Protection, Transportation and Parks will participate in an event at 4 p.m. on Arbor Day, Friday, April 29. The event will be at the East County Community Recreation Center, which is located at 3310 Gateshead Manor Way in Silver Spring.

At the event, there will be tree planting, trees will be raffled off and volunteers will take part in a trash pickup. It is hoped the activities will bring attention to the new County tree and encourage the planting of trees so the tree canopy increases. Residents also can register for “plogging” supplies at the event. Plogging is an innovate way to help the environment by doing an exercise like jogging, walking or biking while picking up trash.

“The black tupelo is now added to the list of county symbols that includes the robin as the County bird, the dogwood as the County blossom and the County seal,” said County Department of Environmental Protection Acting Director Adriana Hochberg. “The black tupelo is resilient, beautiful and critical to the County’s ecosystem and tree canopy. It’s a perfect symbol for Montgomery County as our official tree”.

The black tupelo is native to the County and is a great shade tree, known for its long life. It is one of the trees most requested from the Tree Montgomery Program. County Executive Marc Elrich sent legislation to the County Council last year recommending the black tupelo as the County tree. In March, the Council approved that legislation.

Trees improve air and water quality and help reduce erosion and flooding. They are also a habitat for plants, birds and animals. People benefit too. Trees are a huge part of providing the oxygen needed to breathe.

For more information on how planting trees benefits Montgomery County, and to sign up for a free shade tree, visit https://treemontgomery.org/

Commission on Remembrance and Reconciliation Will Present Virtual Symposium on ‘Preserving Legacies: Resources for Reconciliation’ on Saturday, May 14

Commission on Remembrance and Reconciliation Will Present Virtual Symposium on ‘Preserving Legacies: Resources for Reconciliation’ on Saturday, May 14
The Montgomery County Commission on Remembrance and Reconciliation on Saturday, May 14, will present a virtual symposium in remembrance of the three lynchings found in Montgomery County in the 19th Century. “Preserving Legacies: Resources for Reconciliation” seeks to contribute toward reconciliation for African American communities for the deaths of George W. Peck and John Diggs-Dorsey in 1880 and Sidney Randolph in 1896.

The event will take place from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Registration is required to participate and can be done at https://tinyurl.com/3c2z7xv2. Participants should register early to review online resources and prepare questions in advance for panelists.

The program will reveal resources and tools for communities to advocate for themselves and preserve African American historical and cultural legacies.

The event will include three panels. Their themes will be Organizational Strategies and Leadership: Cemeteries and Burial Grounds—Discovery and Documentation; and Preservation—Funding the Legacy.

For additional information on the program, contact Jeanne M. Toungara. a commissioner on the Commission on Remembrance and Reconciliation, at jtoungara@gmail.com.

‘Magic and Fantasy’ Will Be Celebrated May 13-15 at Special Weekend of Events Hosted by Gaithersburg’s Arts on the Green

‘Magic and Fantasy’ Will Be Celebrated May 13-15 at Special Weekend of Events Hosted by Gaithersburg’s Arts on the Green

Magic and Fantasy” will be celebrated as part of a special weekend of events hosted by Gaithersburg’s Arts on the Green May 13-15 at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn. A magician will challenge perceptions of reality, attendees can join the quest for the One Ring and should beware of Fluffy guarding the Philosopher’s Stone. The event will feature magician Adam Stone, kid-friendly music by Milkshake and showings of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Harry Potter and the Sorcerers’ Stone with costume and trivia contests.

The Arts Barn is located at 311 Kent Square Rd. in Gaithersburg. There are charges for the events that are part of the Magic and Fantasy weekend.

The schedule of events for the weekend:
  • Adam Stone, Magician. Friday, May 13, 8 p.m. Comedy, magic and mentalism collide to create a tour de force of elegant deceptions and spell-binding entertainment. Recommended for ages 15 and up. Tickets $22, $20 for students (ages 15-21). Purchase tickets here.
  • Milkshake. Saturday, May 14, 1 p.m. Milkshake has been making original kid-friendly music since 2002. It has released five award-winning CDs, a DVD, a comic book featuring the band as cartoon characters and music videos for PBS Kids, Nick Jr. and the ToddWorld cartoon. Its Great Day release received a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Recording for Children. Join Lisa Mathews and Mikel Gehl as they get everyone caught up in the magic of music and fun. Suitable for ages 3-7. Tickets $5 in advance, $8 at the door. Purchase tickets here.
  • Film Exhibition: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. PG-13 – Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Saturday, May 14, 7 p.m. A costume contest (dress as your favorite wizard, hobbit, orc or elf) and a trivia contest (who were LĂșthien and Beren?) will be held prior to the film screening. Winners will receive small prizes and have a chance to show off their costuming skills and knowledge of Middle Earth. The Noble Blades will hold a weapons "Show and Tell" in the lobby and a stage combat demonstration. Recommended for ages 15-and-over. Tickets $12 in advance, $15 at door. Purchase tickets here.
  • Defense of the Dark Arts Workshop (Full). Sunday, May 15, 1 p.m. Potions, and wands and magic. Children and their families will tap into their creativity as they design and paint potion bottles and wands. Materials provided. Tickets $5 per child (adult/guardian enters free).Register here.
  • Film Exhibition: Harry Potter and the Sorcerers’ Stone. PG – Parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. Join the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the original phenomenon. Trivia and costume contest will be held at 1:30 p.m. Anyone in costume receives a raffle ticket for one of three prizes. Sunday, May 15. Trivia and Costume Contest at 1:30 p.m. Film Screening at 2 p.m. Tickets: $5 in advance, $8 at door. Purchase tickets here.
One does not simply walk into Mordor, so visit https://www.gaithersburgmd.gov/recreation/arts-on-the-green for more information and to buy tickets or call 301-258-6394.

Arts on the Green programming is funded in part by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC). To discover more about MSAC grants and how they impact Maryland's arts sector, visit www.msac.org.

Free Workshops for Children Will Be Featured at the Gaithersburg Book Festival on Saturday, May 21

Free Workshops for Children Led by Top Authors and Illustrators Will Be Featured at the Gaithersburg Book Festival on Saturday, May 21

Children of all ages can explore their creativity through creating comics and graphic novels, writing haiku poetry and building their college essays at the 2022 Gaithersburg Book Festival. A full day of free workshops—designed for elementary, middle and high school students—will be led by top authors and illustrators in the Children’s Workshop Tent. The festival takes place on Saturday, May 21, at Bohrer Park at Summit Hall Farm.

Bohrer Park is located at 506 S. Frederick Ave. in Gaithersburg. Admission to the festival is free and there will be free, accessible shuttle service available from the Shady Grove Metro Station and Lakeforest Mall.

The Gaithersburg Book Festival is an annual all-day celebration of books, writers and literary excellence. One of the premier literary events in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, the 2022 festival will include author appearances, discussions and book signings; writing workshops; a Children’s Village; onsite sales of new and used books; and literary exhibitors. The festival also will have available food, drinks and ice cream for purchase.

No pre-registration is required for the workshops. Participants should show up at the time their preferred workshop is scheduled to start. Workshops are generally limited to 20 participants, but individual presenters can expand the workshop at their discretion.

The children’s workshops include:
  • Creating Super Cats and Vile Villains: A Kids Comics Workshop. John Gallagher presenter. 10:15-10:45 a.m. Max Meow author/artist John Gallagher will show students how to use simple shapes to create characters and empower them with fun and unique traits by mashing up different ideas, animals, powers and -- cheeseburgers? This comics workshop will help get kids on their way to creating their own heroes, villains and comics—no experience necessary.
  • Mirror, Mirror and Magnificent Me. NoNieqa Ramos presenter. 11-11:45 a.m. Each child will be invited to write a sentence about what they like about themselves. They can write about physical attributes, talents or any aspect of their magnificent selves they desire to share. Parents or caregivers will be invited to write a compliment about their child and themselves. Each family will be invited to walk up to the mirror, look at themselves and read their compliments
  • The Basics of Drawing. Dan Santat presenter. Noon-12:45 p.m. Award-winning author and illustrator Dan Santat will break down the fundamentals of drawing for audiences of all ages and abilities. He will demonstrate how to expand on your art as workshop attendees learn how to draw at their own pace.
  • Brainstorm Your College Essay Topic. Suzanne Zweizig  presenter. 1-1:45 p.m. Workshop will give high school students a chance to explore potential topics for their Common App college essay. The group will look at samples of successful essays and brainstorm ideas based on the Common App list of prompts. Students will spend the second half the session writing and exploring their own topics, sharing their writing and receiving feedback. Students will leave with several options for their topic and a take-home packet containing sample essays and tips.
  • Drawing Animals: Either Realistic or Funny. Timothy Young presenter. 2-2:45 p.m. Timothy Young will demonstrate how he draws animals—realistic and funny. He will teach some techniques for drawing animals.
  • Comics Co-Lab: Kids Graphic Novel Workshop. Dave Roman and John Patrick Green presenters. 3-3:45 p.m. Authors Dave Roman (“Astronaut Academy”) and John Patrick Green (“InvestiGators”) will lead an interactive workshop on developing unique cartoon characters and collaborating with fellow artists to create unexpected comic stories full of crazy twists and turns.
  • Create Haiku Poetry. Jennifer Klein presenter. 4-4:45 p.m. Students will make artworks and create haiku poetry, a style of poetry about one breath long that often focuses on nature. They will create their own after reading sample poems and discussing the craft of writing haiku poetry.
For more information about children’s workshops, the presenters and the schedule, including additional workshops geared for adults and older teens, visit the Workshop pages of the festival website at www.gaithersburgbookfestival.org.

Potomac Branch of Montgomery County Public Libraries Will Close on Sunday, May 22, for Refresh Project

Potomac Branch of Montgomery County Public Libraries Will Close on Sunday, May 22, for Refresh Project

The Potomac Library will close at 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 22, to undergo interior improvements under the Montgomery County Public Libraries’ (MCPL) award-winning Library Refurbishment initiative. The Potomac Library, which is located at 10101 Glenolden Dr. in Potomac, will be closed for approximately eight to 10 months.

The project will include the replacement of flooring, new shelving, a new service desk, painting, new furniture and a redesigned children’s area. Work also will be performed to bring the building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Physical construction for the refresh project at Potomac will begin in July; we are closing ahead of the construction start date to complete the internal reorganization of collections and shelving,” said MCPL Director Anita Vassallo. “We look forward to resuming operations at the branch in early 2023, and hope customers will access services at nearby branches and continue to use our website while the facility is undergoing the refresh process.”

For additional information regarding the closing, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library.  The website has details on the last date for book returns in the branch book drop and the last date for placement of holds for the Potomac Library.

For more information, contact Angelisa Hawes at 240-777-0022 or at angelisa.hawes@montgomerycountymd.gov.

County’s First Adaptive Kayaking Pier to be Dedicated on Sunday, May 1, at Riley’s Lock in Poolesville

County’s First Adaptive Kayaking Pier to be Dedicated on Sunday, May 1, at Riley’s Lock in Poolesville

Montgomery County’s first adaptive kayaking pier will be dedicated at Riley’s Lock in Poolesville with a celebration from 12:30-5 p m. on Sunday, May 1, that will include music, food and free adaptive kayaking lessons. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held from 12:30-2 p.m. to dedicate the accessible pier for individuals with disabilities and the overall achievement for the disability community. 

Riley’s Lock is also known as Lock 24 on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which is part of the 184.5 miles long that follows the Potomac River. It was one of 74 locks on the canal and was named after the family that operated the lock. Riley's Lock today is part of Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. The site is the only place on the canal that has a lift lock connected to an aqueduct.

Riley’s Lock is located at towpath mile-marker 22.7 and is adjacent to Seneca Creek,

The celebration of the adaptive kayaking pier will include the period from 2-5 p.m. that Team River Runner operates weekly. Team River Runner is a kayaking organization that welcomes veterans with any disability, family members of those veterans and anyone else looking to help support veterans. Free adaptive kayaking equipment and lessons will be available to the disability community on this special occasion. Advance registration is required to participate. Click here to register. 

Experienced kayakers have an opportunity to compete in the 2022 Seneca Showdown  race on from 9 a.m.-noon on May 1. From the event’s proceeds, 50 percent will go to Team River Runner. Click here to register for the Seneca Showdown Race.

More information about the events can be obtained by emailing Angela Fox at accessibilityishome@gmail.com.

Election Workers Needed for 2022 Gubernatorial Primary Election

Election Workers Need for 2022 Gubernatorial Primary Election

The Montgomery County Board of Elections is seeking registered voters to serve as election poll workers at polling places for the Gubernatorial Primary Election to be held on Tuesday, July 19.

Due to the diversity within the County, voters who speak multiple languages also are needed. Voters who are fluent in both English and Spanish are especially needed in each polling place to meet the requirements of Section 203 of the 1975 Voting Rights Act that stipulates bilingual Spanish speakers must be available at the polling places.

Students 16 or older are eligible to register to vote and serve as election poll workers. Each minor must demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Maryland State Board of Elections, that they meet all qualifications for registration in the State. Students serving as election workers may choose to earn up to 25 Student Service Learning (SSL) credits in lieu of the stipend.

To serve in this paid volunteer position, all election poll workers must be registered to vote in the State of Maryland; able to speak, read and write the English language; and cannot hold, or be a candidate for, public or party office. In addition, election workers may not serve as a campaign manager for a candidate or as treasurer for any campaign finance entity.

Training is required and will be provided to all election workers. This includes an online quiz, virtual training and classroom in-person training. Volunteers will be paid for completing training and working the election. Several positions are offered, including all-day and part-day. More information is available at www.777vote.org. 

To apply, text SERVE to 77788 or online at www.777vote.org. For poll worker information, visit www.777vote.org and select the “Election Workers” link; call 240-777-8533; or email election.judge@montgomerycountymd.gov.

For more information, call 240-777-8500, visit www.777vote.org or go to the Maryland State Board of Elections’ website at https://elections.maryland.gov.

April 20, 2022

Message from the County Executive

Dear Friends,

Environmental author and activist Paul Hawken wrote, “if you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.”

These words are an appropriate reminder as we celebrate Earth Day this week. Many of us share in this emotional dichotomy over protecting our planet. We worry and fear for future generations over the consequences of our actions, or lack thereof, when it comes to environmental sustainability and resilience. But we are also energized and empowered by the enduring perseverance of those who have been in this fight for decades as well the passion of our students and young adults.

When I think about all the government employees, community activists, student advocates, nonprofit organizations and neighborhood groups who work to make our County eco-friendly every day and month of the year, I am optimistic that we can make a difference. Margaret Mead is quoted as saying, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Earth Day is a great reminder to think about our own habits and responsibilities and (re-)commit ourselves to actions that help ensure that our planet is saved for future generations.

Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) Passes Unanimously

Since taking office, I have insisted that policies and budget decisions of the Montgomery County Government be viewed through an equity lens as well as sustainability lens. I am proud of the progress we are making, and this week, I was pleased that we took a significant step forward toward our efforts to combat climate change.

One year ago I sent Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) legislation to the County Council and this week, the Council passed it. I am looking forward to signing it into law. I want to thank Council President Gabe Albornoz for bringing this bill to a vote and the entire Council for its unanimous support.

When I submitted this legislation to the County Council last April, we were among the first local jurisdictions in this nation to embark on this type of legislation. BEPS garnered the attention of President Biden and environmental activists across the country. Other jurisdictions, like Denver, Colorado, credited this proposal as the model for their own BEPS legislation.

We are proud to have collaborated with the commercial and multi-family building sector in developing this legislation. The new law will lead to energy improvements for residential and commercial buildings that will not only help the environment, but also will save money and create new local jobs. I also want to thank the many residents, activists and community groups who advocated for this bill. They are an example that the voices of everyday people can influence positive change.

BEPS is critical for us to reach our goal of a 100 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. We have expanded financing options, including Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing, and allocated funding for upgrades and retrofits of existing buildings. It will not be easy. We will be working closely with our building owners to educate and engage them on these new requirements. The County cannot do this without them, and I look forward to their partnership and collaboration to effectively implement this new law.

I knew from the beginning that combatting climate change and achieving our goals outlined in the Climate Action Plan would be difficult. But I also knew that we need to address climate change with a sense of urgency, and BEPS is one part of our ambitious efforts to reduce emissions.

Celebrate Earth Week at “GreenFest”

The County will hold its Seventh Annual "Greenfest" this Saturday, April, 22, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton. It will be an in-person event for the first time since the COVID-19 health crisis began.

GreenFest gives residents, businesses, nonprofits and visitors an opportunity to share ideas, learn together and have fun. This year’s event will feature 60 vendors, a green crafts fair and an electric car show. GreenFest will include green businesses, environmental nonprofits and family friendly educational games and events.

There will be children’s activities including tree climbing, kid’s yoga, face painting and plant giveaways. Visitors can shop for locally made products at the arts and crafts fair. The electric vehicle car show will feature the latest models and technology. The world’s first electric truck, the Rivian, will be on display. Come check it out if you can.

County COVID-19 Cases Increase 23 Percent Since Last Week

COVID-19 cases have increased 23 percent since last week. Our test positivity rate has surpassed 5 percent, which is two percentage points higher than the State average. Currently, 94 percent of our region’s cases are the new BA.2 variants.

Our current case rates and positivity are higher than what we saw with Delta last year, but hospitalizations remain significantly lower. However, we have begun to see increases in patients showing up at our hospital emergency rooms with COVID-like symptoms. COVID inpatients counts have risen 56 percent in the past week.

Our CDC community level remains “Low,” which is good news. However, our neighbors in the District of Columbia and Arlington County have recently had their status moved up to the “Medium” community level. Be aware that cases are ticking up and please: wear masks to reduce your exposure, test if you don’t feel well, isolate if you test positive and, most importantly, get a booster vaccine.

Being ‘Fully Vaccinated’ Is Not Enough to be Fully Protected

Many of our residents are coming up on their anniversary of being vaccinated. But we are still at only 54 percent of residents having been boosted. It is critical that everyone remains “up to date” on their vaccinations—although 54 percent is much better than the national average of 30 percent.

Being “fully vaccinated” at this point is not being completely protected. For us to weather future upticks and surges without mandates, virtual learning or restrictions, we must increase our booster numbers.

This weekend, Salud Y Bienestar – our Latino Health Initiative, will be conducting a vaccination clinic at the UpCounty Regional Services Center in Germantown from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you or anyone you know needs to be vaccinated or boosted, stop by. It is easy, it is quick, it is free, you do not need insurance and immigration status does not matter.

Masking Policy on Ride On Changes from Required to Highly Recommended

We changed our masking policy on Ride On buses from required to highly encouraged this week. This decision was made following the federal suspension of the mask mandate on public transportation, which came after a Federal judge’s ruling that the mask mandate on public transportation was unconstitutional.

I am not pleased that we were forced to make this change, but we did it to provide passengers and operators consistency with Metro and other regional transportation systems. This was a bad ruling by a Trump-appointed judge who has no expertise in public health in overruling our nation’s public health experts. As I mentioned during my weekly media briefing, this ruling was nuts.

This decision undermines potential tools available for public health officials for future surges or future diseases, and I am glad that the Federal Justice Department will appeal the decision.

We highly encourage riders to wear masks on our buses.

New Research: 30 Percent of Those Who Catch COVID Develop ‘Long COVID’ Symptoms

New research on “Long Covid” is one more reason to get vaccinated and boosted.

New University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) research finds that 30 percent of people treated for COVID-19 developed Post Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC). This is more commonly known as “long COVID.”

According to the study, patients with a history of hospitalization, diabetes and higher body mass index were most likely to develop the condition. Surprisingly, demographics that are linked with severe illness and greater risk of death from COVID-19, such as ethnicity, older age and socioeconomic status, were not associated with long COVID syndrome.

I have directed our Department of Health and Human Services to continue to review and analyze all the research and data that is now coming out on long COVID so we can better adapt our understanding and response to handling this condition moving forward. As a County, we do not have the infrastructure or financial resources alone to address these issues. But we are willing to advocate and support all efforts at the Federal and State levels to ensure that we are paying attention to the long-term health impacts of COVID now so we will not be caught by surprise in the future.

Seeking Diverse, Fair-Minded Residents for the Police Accountability Board and for the Administrative Charging Committee

I want to thank the Council for its collaboration in getting the Police Accountability Board (PAB) and the Administrative Charging Committee (ACC) legislation passed this week. I am glad we got this through to meet the State’s July 1 deadline.

We are hoping to get many applicants so that the nominations reflect the diversity of the County and we are looking for fair-minded residents who believe in procedural justice. PAB and ACC members will be compensated. PAB compensation is $10,000 per year, ACC members get approximately $16,000 per year. The chair of the PAB, who also will serve on the ACC, will receive $22,000.

Visit our website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/boards for more information.

Interfaith Works Turns 50

I was proud to join Council President Albornoz and Vice President Glass this week to present a proclamation to Interfaith Works recognizing 50 years of service and commitment to the residents of Montgomery County. I have been involved with Interfaith Works for decades and previously served on its board.

When this organization first started providing services to the community, it focused on addressing immediate concerns, such as clothing and food. As it has grown over the years, it expanded services to address the root causes of poverty and homelessness. Today, Interfaith Works offers wraparound services to more than 35,000 individuals each year and has more than 7,000 volunteers to assist in these efforts.

On behalf of the most vulnerable residents of Montgomery County, I thank and appreciate Interfaith Works for a half of a century of ensuring that all our residents have access to shelter, food, clothing, medical care, employment support and emergency resources.

Take a Stroll with the Bard in Gaithersburg

One of the wonderful benefits of living in Montgomery County is having plenty of options for arts and culture. Gaithersburg’s Arts on the Green is hosting its second “Walking with Shakespeare”event from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, at Observatory Park. It is located at 100 DeSellum Ave. in Gaithersburg. 

This year would have marked William Shakespeare’s 458th birthday. Like all great art, the timeless works of Shakespeare must continue to be shared and exposed to the next generation of playwrights, poets, and performers. Check out this short video of one of my favorite Shakespeare passages. 

As always, my appreciation for all you do.

Marc Elrich
County Executive

Masks Now Optional on Montgomery County Ride On Buses   

Passengers using Montgomery County’s Ride On buses are no longer required to wear a mask, but are strongly encouraged to voluntarily wear them.  The change to the County’s masking policy comes after the announcement on April 18 that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has suspended enforcement of a mask mandate on all modes of public transportation.  TSA’s decision came after a Federal judge’s ruling that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mask mandate was unconstitutional.

Ride On bus operators will no longer be required to wear a mask because of this change. 

“We think this is a bad decision by a Trump judge, who has no expertise in public health, to overrule our nation’s public health experts,” said County Executive Marc Elrich.  “Not only will this increase risk during the current surge, but it undermines potential tools available for public health officials for future surges or future diseases.  As we join the region and comply with this legal decision, we are going to continue to monitor our transmission rates and legal options regarding masking.  We highly encourage all residents to wear masks on our buses, as well as in crowded indoor areas.  And, as we currently see our COVID rates increase, it is imperative that everyone stays up to date on their vaccinations.” 

The County’s decision to lift the mask mandate on public transportation was done to provide passengers and operators with consistency with WMATA (Metro) and other regional transportation systems.  WMATA announced that it was lifting the mask mandate throughout its transportations system. County health officials continue to strongly recommend masking, particularly for those riders who are unvaccinated, immunocompromised or have chronic diseases that put them at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19. 

“To provide consistency within the region, masks will not be required on County buses at this time,” said County Department of Transportation Director Chris Conklin. “However, I encourage the continued use of masks to protect yourself and others as there are members of our community who remain vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19.  Our operators will continue to provide masks to riders who need them.” 

Ride On continues to offer free fares to all riders until at least July 2, 2022. Ride One will continue to provide free masks to riders when needed.

For more information on COVID-19 testing and vaccination, visit the County’s COVID-19 website.  For more information about Ride On, visit its website. 

Free GreenFest is Back and In-Person for the First Time in Three Years at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton on Saturday, April 23


The Seventh Annual Montgomery County “GreenFest” will return as a free in-person festival celebrating Earth Day from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton.

Brookside Gardens is located at 1800 Glenallen Ave. in Wheaton. Onsite parking will be restricted to handicapped visitors. Free shuttle service will be available from the Glenmont Metro Station.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich will attend this year’s GreenFest, which will feature 60 vendors, a green crafts fair and an electric car show. GreenFest will include green businesses, environmental nonprofits and family friendly educational games and events. There will be children’s activities including tree climbing, kid’s yoga, face painting and plant giveaways. Visitors can shop for locally made products at the arts and crafts fair. The electric vehicle car show will feature the latest models and technology. The world’s first electric truck, the Rivian, will be on display.

Locally based food trucks will be onsite offering a variety of healthy foods including vegan and vegetarian fare.

“It is great news that ‘GreenFest’ has returned this year as an in-person gathering and I encourage all residents to join us at Brookside Gardens this Saturday,” said County Executive Elrich. “Montgomery County is committed to building a community culture of environmental responsibility and sustainability. Community outreach efforts like ‘Greenfest’ engage new and diverse audiences of all ages to become more earth friendly in their own lives and habits. This free event will have plenty of environmental activities, games and demonstrations, as well as resources that will both entertain and educate attendees. I am thankful to our Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation, Montgomery Parks and all of our community partners for organizing this event. Please join us, and bring your family, friends and neighbors.”     

Attendees are encouraged to take advantage of the free parking at the Glenmont Metro Station and shuttle service to Brookside Gardens. Free shuttles will run every 15 minutes starting at 10:30 a.m., with the last shuttle leaving Brookside Gardens at 5:30 p.m. Pets are not allowed at Brookside Gardens, with the exception of service animals.

GreenFest is organized by a coalition of partners including the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Montgomery Parks, Brookside Gardens, WSSC Water and the University of Maryland Extension. Local environmental nonprofit partners include One Montgomery Green, Bethesda Green and Poolesville Green.

For more information on GreenFest, visit https://montgomerycountygreenfest.org or follow #MCGreenFest.

Rebates Available for Purchasing Electric Leaf Blowers  

Montgomery County residents or companies that purchase electric leaf blowers are eligible for rebates of $50 or $100 through a special program that supports the County’s Climate Action Plan whose goals include reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Each individual or company is eligible for up to two rebates on either handheld or backpack electric leaf blowers.  

The deadline for the program has been extended and rebates remain available. The program is co-sponsored by the County Department of Environmental Protection, Pepco and Ace Hardware.  

To qualify for a rebate, a gas leaf blower must be exchanged for each rebate.  

Details of the program:  
  • Individuals or companies must return a gas leaf blower for each rebate. Gas-powered blowers must be dropped off when purchasing the new blowers.  
  • Rebates are $100 each per EGO-brand Power+ LB6003 Battery Backpack Leaf Blower Kit or $50 per EGO LB6504 handheld model.  
  • Two rebates maximum per individual or company.  
To apply for the rebates and to learn more about the program, go to $50-$200 Electric Leaf Blower Rebates Available-Deadline extended! - My Green Montgomery : My Green Montgomery.  

Earth Month Continues to be Celebrated with April Events Hosted by County Department of Environmental Protection    

Earth Month will be celebrated throughout April by the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection with volunteer, community and environmental events that are fun, educational, and bring attention to the importance of caring for the environment.     

Earth Day 2022, which will be on Friday, April 22, will have the theme of “Invest in Our Planet.”     

Events celebrating Earth Month will include GreenFest which is the County’s largest Earth Day festival, a seminar on how to lower utility bills and a seminar on programmable and “smart” thermostats.   

The County’s Earth Month events will include:   
For more information on Earth Month events in Montgomery County, visit https://mygreenmontgomery.org/2022/earth-month-2022/    

‘About That Slap—Tips for Conflict Resolution’ from County’s Director of Health and Human Services Will Be Featured Topic on ‘What’s Happening MoCo’ Podcast

Just a few short weeks ago, the world let out a collective gasp as actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock during the Academy Awards show in response to Rock’s joke about Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkette Smith. On the latest episode of the What’s Happening MoCo podcast, Montgomery County’s Director of the Department of Health and Human Services, Raymond Crowel, shares his insights regarding the controversial incident.

Over the course of the conversation, Dr. Crowel, a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, provides practical tips on how people should respond in similar situations and ways to manage the stress that may lead to adverse reactions.

The episode “About that Slap—Tips for Conflict Resolution” is now available.

The show can be heard via Apple Podcasts at https://bit.ly/whats-happening-moco. Spotify, Amazon Music (ask Alexa to play the What’s Happening MoCo podcast), iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts and others. The video version of the podcast can be viewed on the What’s Happening MoCo Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WhatsHappeningMoCoPodcast.

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

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

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

21 County Parking Garages to Undergo Cleanings in Spring and Summer

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has started its semi-annual interior washdown to degrease and clean 21 County-owned parking garages in Silver Spring, Bethesda and Wheaton.

The washings, which will occur on nights and weekends, began earlier in April in the Bethesda garages and conclude with cleanings of the Silver Spring garages in early June. View the full schedule here.

Every year, MCDOT performs the spring and fall washdowns to ensure the cleanliness of garages and prevent deterioration of the structures from prolonged exposure to salt, sand, oils, gas, dirt, pollen and leaves. The regular cleanings help keep grease, oil and debris out of nearby waterways.

Some garages will experience partial closures that may include select entrance/exit areas and ramps. MCDOT contractors intend to complete their work around the garage traffic and parked vehicles and to provide appropriate signage to notify customers of anticipated access impacts.