October 27, 2022

Message from the County Executive

Dear Friends,

It was an honor this week to introduce my nomination for Montgomery County Health Officer: Dr. Kisha Davis.

Dr. Kisha Davis

Dr. Davis is a family physician who is currently vice president of Health Equity at Aledade, here in Montgomery County. She also has served as a medical director at CHI Healthcare, a primary care center in Gaithersburg. Dr. Davis has been engaged in many projects including serving as a White House Fellow and currently serving as the vice chair of the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission. She earned her Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University and her MD from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

Dr. Davis is a Montgomery County native and a graduate of Quince Orchard High School. This week she joined me on my weekly media briefing and said she sees herself as a family physician for all of Montgomery County.

She also spoke highly of her predecessor—Dr. Travis Gayles—and said she was encouraged by the support he received from County leaders and residents as health officer. She also complimented the County’s success during the pandemic in achieving the one of the nation’s highest vaccination rate and lowest death rates.

I am thrilled she will be joining us. The County Council will consider her nomination on Nov. 15. I am looking forward to welcoming her officially and working with Dr. Davis in her new position.

I also want to thank Dr. James Bridgers for the work he did filling the dual role of acting health officer and chief of Public Health Services for the past 13 months. Dr. Bridgers will continue as division chief.

Disappointed and Concerned Over Passage of Thrive 2050

The County Council is moving forward with a well-meaning but ill-designed Thrive 2050 plan.

As many of you know, I had asked that this vote be delayed because of multiple errors, unanswered questions and insufficient attention to racial equity. Time was needed to get this right.

Instead, some of the leading supporters of Thrive argue that the plan must move forward now in order to house the people who are coming here in the future. That is not true and their persistence to lean on this argument is frustrating. All the growth projections are based on zoning already put in place. We have done more than 20 master plans in 16 years that have created the zoning capacity for the future growth of this County. Our biggest issue is that 85 percent of housing that could be built would be market rate housing. The County can expect 12 ½-15 percent of the total units being affordable to residents with incomes between $60,000-$75,000 dollars. These are not nearly enough units that will be priced to address existing needs in the County, let alone the projected need for affordable units in the future

People have also been misled that Thrive is necessary for affordable housing. Sadly, it does very little to help. I don’t how you call something the future plan if you are not doing anything to address the housing gaps that exist today and the housing gaps that are likely to be created without a concrete plan to create more affordable housing.

I think one reason Thrive 2050 falls short is because it is not organic. Thrive 2050 was not born from the community, but instead was derived in a board room without the proper input from Montgomery County residents. Years ago, this plan would have come from what we called “citizens committees.” Residents took the time to work with professional planners and elected officials to develop long-term plans. I was on sector plan committees for Silver Spring—a broadly representative group. This time. planning staff told community members why they should like Thrive rather delving into problems and creating solutions together.

There are steps we can take to address affordable housing, economic development and racial equity despite Thrive.

Going forward, I am looking forward to working with a new Council, a new Planning Board and with residents to address the important issues that were not addressed by Thrive. I encourage you to send me your thoughts, ideas and feedback on the Thrive process, land use and affordable housing. You can contact my office here.

Potential “Tri-demic” Is a Cause of Concern

Health experts are warning this week of a potential “tri-demic” with concerns about a potential surge of COVID-19, influenz, and RSV rates all occurring at the same time sometime this winter.

Illnesses with flu-like symptoms have already been driving up visits to doctors’ offices and hospitals nationwide. In some areas of the country, the situation is alarming. Children’s Hospital in the District is among several area facilities for kids that are at or near capacity because of these respiratory illnesses.

Health experts say the rise in cases at hospitals does not have as much to do with COVID-19 as you might think. They report that flu cases are already on the rise along with RSV. With all three viruses in play health experts say it makes sense that there would be a strain on some hospitals even this early into a typical flu season.

As for COVID-19 this week, our current case and hospitalization rates remain “low” and we want to keep them that way. I am concerned for the upcoming winter. There is already a surge happening in Europe. And when Europe surges we are never far behind. Wastewater detection surveillance is starting to see upticks in cases nearby in Pennsylvania. We must be deliberate in our efforts to protect ourselves and our families. We must keep severe cases at a minimum and our hospitalization rate in this County as low as possible.

The new bivalent booster is our best defense from any potential surges in COVID cases this winter. It has been available since the beginning of September and only 8.5 percent of eligible Americans have received this shot, according to the CDC. This article published this week in The Atlantic explains the slow uptake of this latest vaccine and the consequences for our inaction.

Montgomery County is performing slightly better than national average. Our estimates have us north of 12 percent of all Montgomery County residents have received the bivalent booster. And approximately 21 percent of our 50-and-over population has received this new shot. This is concerning, as this new booster is critical for the health and wellness of our older adults. We must quickly increase these numbers before holiday gatherings, such as Thanksgiving, that will be occurring in just few short weeks.

To date, more than 407,600 booster doses have been given at County-operated vaccination clinics. This number represents more than 20 percent of all boosters given throughout the State and just last month Montgomery County became the largest jurisdiction to become 90 percent fully vaccinated.

“Shops & Shots”: BOO!STERMA Happening at Westfield Wheaton on Saturday

We cannot be lulled into expecting a surge-less winter, and by taking the bivalent booster, we are not only protecting ourselves, but our families, schools and communities. As a government, we are going to continue to make concerted marketing and public engagement efforts to increase our bivalent booster rates.

This Saturday, Oct. 29, we will be hosting our third Boosterama event at the Westfield Wheaton mall. I want to thank Westfield for its support of our outreach efforts and for offering five $50 gift certificates to be raffled off to those who are boosted.

Please join us in Wheaton and help keep your family and the community safe.

Recognizing Our Volunteer Heroes

The Montgomery County government is very grateful to all those individuals, organizations and businesses who have volunteered their time and efforts during this pandemic. This week, I attended our Medical Reserve Corps Volunteer Appreciation event to meet and thank them in person.

As of the end of August this year, our volunteers have worked 82,155 hours and saved the County and our taxpayers more than $3 million This reflects the compassion and commitment our residents have for their neighbors during the toughest of times. There are so many people to thank but I did want to acknowledge one volunteer in particular.

Dr. Joseph Chui, a resident of North Potomac gave more than 500 hours, mostly as a vaccinator or doing COVID testing. He is an infectious disease doctor and knows how important public health is and volunteering was a way for him to use his medical training to help the County. His efforts were quite the gift.

I hope that you consider volunteering yourself— whether it is to assist our COVID efforts or other needs. If interested, visit the Montgomery County volunteer center website.

Only One Monkeypox Case in Last Two Weeks in County

Our efforts focusing on Monkeypox, or MPX, are paying off. There has only been one new case reported in Montgomery County in the last two weeks. This is great news and demonstrates how our outreach and communication efforts are working. But we must continue to vaccinate high risk individuals.

Hundreds of people have asked for, and have now received, a vaccine for MPX in Montgomery County. We will continue sharing information about how it spreads from heavy skin-to-skin contact because education about the disease is one of our best tools in preventing more cases. We have made great progress here, but we must not lose our vigilance.

Electric Buses Are Our Future

We began this week with an important announcement from Montgomery County Public Schools. It is now home to the largest electric bus fleet for public schools in the nation. I want to thank the school district for adopting the County’s climate goals and acting on them.

Electric buses cost more until you factor in the tax breaks our contractors get, and then it becomes comparable to buying a diesel bus. In the future, changing to electric buses will pay big dividends for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They are cheaper to repair and refuel. Students also deserve credit for holding school and County leaders accountable. We are creating the world they are going to inherit and if we don’t create the right world, they are going to inherit an even bigger mess.

This announcement comes just one week ahead of another important milestone. This coming Monday, we will hold a grand opening for our Brookville bus depot, which is the new standard for sustainable public transportation. It will have its own energy source with solar panels serving a microgrid fueling what will eventually be an all-electric fleet of Ride On buses.

Here is a video produced by of our partners that gives a good sense of what to expect from this new County resource.

Electrifying our buses keeps hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon monoxide out of our atmosphere, reducing pollution. Creating our own energy helps reduce our carbon footprint. These are two great updates for our community that fit in nicely with Montgomery County’s Climate Action Plan.

Stay Tuned: $15 million Requested for North Bethesda Metro Area

The former White Flint Metro Station officially became the “North Bethesda” Metro Station last month. The properties around this station are one of the region’s most valuable development opportunities. This area is going to redevelop quickly, and will likely become a national epicenter of bio, life sciences and quantum computing industries, companies and jobs.

This week I sent a $15 million supplemental appropriation request to the County Council to prepare the North Bethesda Metro area for an exciting project with education research partners to bring an advanced computational research capability to the county.

The money will be spent on essential start-up costs and operational needs that will focus on virtual reality and artificial intelligence with a strong focus on life sciences and hospitality.

We will have more details in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

This week is the final week of October and gives us a chance to recognize Down Syndrome Awareness Month. It gives the public an opportunity to learn about what makes the more than 400,000 Americans living with Down Syndrome special.

Down Syndrome is the most common chromosomal disorder that children are born with in the nation. Treatment and introducing life skills early go a long way toward helping adults live on their own or enjoying a good quality of life.

Over almost 50 years, I have watched my own foster sons with Down Syndrome become adults. They have found the support and encouragement from our community to strive for independence. That is what we want as parents and as a community: for everyone that calls Montgomery County home to feel at home here.

I am thankful for the nonprofit organizations, businesses and groups that help families like mine. It takes a lot of resources to provide support for those afflicted with Down Syndrome. Many families do not have the money, education and information to succeed. Support networks are critical.

A few weeks ago, the Down Syndrome Network of Montgomery County held a celebration and walk at Hadley's Park in Potomac. The group facilitates social activities and provides support for new parents and those supporting adults with Down Syndrome.

I encourage you to recognize the important work done by groups like the Down Syndrome Network of Montgomery County and support them and anyone in your family or among your friends who are dealing with Down Syndrome in their lives.

Happy Diwali!

Diwali, one of the most important festivals in Hinduism, was recognized this week. The five-day holiday signifies the beginning of a new year and symbolizes the victory of light over darkness.

I attended a Diwali celebration at the Guru Nanak Foundation in Silver Spring earlier this week and the County also continued its tradition of honoring Diwali with a community event at the Executive Office Building in Rockville on Friday.

I hope our Hindu community had a wonderful Diwali this year filled with big feasts and lots of gifts.

Have a great week.

Marc Elrich
County Executive

October 26, 2022

Early Voting Now Underway for Upcoming General Election, With Ride On and Metro Bus Service Available to County’s 14 Early Voting Centers

Early voting in Montgomery County for the 2022 General Election has started and will be available at 14 early voting centers from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, including Saturday and Sunday, through Thursday, Nov. 3. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Registered voters have always been able to vote during early voting, but now individuals who are eligible—but not yet registered—can register and vote.

To register and vote during early voting, go to an early voting center in the county where you live and bring a document that proves where you live. This document can be your MVA-issued license, ID card, a change of address card, a paycheck, a bank statement, a utility bill or other government document with your name and new address. You will be able to register to vote.

There will be instructions available at the early voting centers to familiarize you with the ballot. You may ask an election judge to explain how to vote, but must cast your vote alone—unless you are unable to do so because you have a disability or are unable to read or write the English language.

Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Ride On bus service, combines in some areas with Metro bus service to have several routes available to transport voters to the early voting centers located throughout the County.

More information about Early Voting Centers is available at Montgomery County Board of Elections: 2022 Early Voting Sites (montgomerycountymd.gov).

The Early Voting Centers, and the corresponding Montgomery County Ride On and Metrobus routes that will serve early voting centers:
  • Activity Center at Bohrer: Ride On route 59 (closest)
  • Bauer Drive Community Recreation Center: Ride On route 48
  • Damascus Community Recreation Center: Ride On route 90
  • Executive Office Building: Ride On routes 44, 46, 47, 54, 56
  • Germantown Community Recreation Center: Ride On route 98
  • Jane E. Lawton Community Recreation Center: Ride On route 34 (closest)
  • Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center: Metrobus routes Z6 and Z7
  • Mid-County Community Recreation Center: Ride On routes 26, 39 and 49
  • Nancy H. Dacek North Potomac Community Rec. Center: Ride On route 301
  • Potomac Community Recreation Center: Ride On route 37
  • Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Station: Ride On routes 52 and 53 / Metrobus routes Y2 and Y8
  • Silver Spring Civic Building: Ride On routes 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19 / Metrobus route F4
  • Wheaton Library & Community Recreation Center: Ride on routes 9 and 31 / Metrobus routes Y2, Y7 and Y8
  • White Oak Community Recreation Center: Ride on route 10 / Metrobus routes Z6 and Z8 (closest)
Residents can look up scheduled Ride On bus routes by location here. For information on the approved early voting centers and hours of operation, go to the early voting information page.

Fare collection resumed on all Montgomery County buses on Aug. 1. The one-way pre-pandemic fare, which was $2 per ride, is now $1. Monthly passes, which were $45 per rider, are now $22.50

Montgomery County seniors, members of the disability community and students can ride County Ride On buses for free if they qualify for a Senior SmartTrip Card, Metro Disability Card or a Youth Cruiser Card.

Riders can plan trips online with Ride On Real Time.

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

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

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

The following tips can help keep trick-or-treaters safe:
  • Drivers should slow down and be alert. Kids are excited on Halloween and may dart into the street. Reduce speed and turn on headlights early in the day to spot kids from further away.
  • Drivers and trick-or-treaters should put electronic devices down and keep heads up and use caution on streets and sidewalks.
  • Trick-or-treaters should only cross the street at corners or crosswalks. Always look left, right and left again when crossing, and keep looking as you cross. Walk—do not run—across the street.
  • Parents and trick-or-treaters can make themselves more easily seen by carrying glow sticks or flashlights, using reflective tape or stickers on costumes and bags and wearing light colors.
“Drivers should be very cautious, slow down and avoid distraction and impairment knowing that kids will be out trick-or-treating,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “If people are careful on our roads, we can keep each other safe and reduce the risk of a Halloween tragedy.”

The MCDOT Safe Routes to School program will be participating at several family friendly events giving out safety prizes and promoting pedestrian safety. The program will be participating in events, including:

Many ‘Halloween Happenings’ Will Take Place in the Silver Spring Arts and Entertainment District

The Silver Spring Arts and Entertainment District will have numerous light-hearted, family friendly ‘Halloween Happenings’ that will be a treat for all ages. Reservations or tickets are required for many of these events.

More than 100 arts and humanities organizations, popular arts venues, attractions and entertainment businesses compose the Arts and Entertainment District.

The list of Halloween Happenings will include:
Many of the bars and restaurants are also offering themed parties, drinks and treats over the weekend of Oct. 28-30 will include the Nightmare on Georgia Avenue at I/O Spaces and the Caribbean Halloween Party at Fire Station 1.

More activities and events may be added frequently to the calendar at SilverSpringDowntown.com.

Designated as an Arts and Entertainment District by the State of Maryland in 2001, the Silver Spring Arts and Entertainment District is a hub of performance venues, restaurants and nightlife, festivals and community celebrations and family friendly fun. An Arts and Entertainment District helps develop and promote community involvement, tourism and business revitalization through tax-related incentives that attract artists, arts organizations and other creative enterprises.

For more information and an events calendar, visit the official Silver Spring website.

Halloween 'BOO!sterama' to Be Held Saturday, Oct. 29, at Westfield Wheaton Mall; County Encourages Updated Boosters as COVID-19 Virus Continues

The County, in partnership with Por Nuestra Salud y Bienestar, Proyecto Salud and Westfield Wheaton, will host a “BOO!sterama” from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29, to provide the new bivalent COVID-19 boosters to anyone age 5 and older who had their last vaccination at least two months ago. The shots are free and no appointment is needed.

The new Pfizer bivalent booster is approved for anyone 5 and older and the updated Moderna bivalent booster is approved for anyone 6 and older.

The event will be held at Westfield Wheaton Mall, outside of the Carter’s store on the second floor. Individuals who receive their booster at the event will be entered into a drawing to receive one of five $50 gift cards that can be used throughout Westfield Wheaton’s variety of retailers.

“Health officials continue to recommend the updated COVID-19 booster as a way of protecting people from the risk of serious illness from COVID-19,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “I am grateful and appreciative of our partnership with Westfield Wheaton to provide space, incentives and access to get our vaccines directly in front of potential recipients.”

In addition to the BOO!sterama event, the new bivalent booster shots are widely available at locations throughout the community. Make an appointment for the new bivalent booster shot or find other locations at GoVaxMoco.com.

For more information about Por Nuestra Salud Y Bienestar, visit its website.

Montgomery Parks Special Events for October Continue

The lineup of special events in October from Montgomery Parks will include Halloween train rides and “Not So Spooky” skates.

October special events in Montgomery Parks include:
  • Halloween Eye Spy Trains. Every Saturday and Sunday. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Cabin John Miniature Train, 7410 Tuckerman Lane, Rockville, and Wheaton Miniature Train & Carousel, 2002 Shorefield Road, Wheaton. Board the miniature Halloween Eye Spy Trains at Cabin John and Wheaton Regional Parks to ride through “Trainsylvania.” Riders receive an “Eye Spy” card with seasonal items to find along the tracks during the ride. Advance ticket purchase through ActiveMontgomery is recommended to guarantee a seat. A limited number of tickets will be available for purchase at the venues. All ages (ticket required for ages 2 and older). $6- $8.
  • Freedom’s Footsteps. Oct. 28-30. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Josiah Henson Museum and Park, 11410 Old Georgetown Rd., North Bethesda. Freedom’s Footsteps is a celebration of Josiah Henson’s emancipation. On Oct. 28, 1830, the Henson family reached Canada and gained its freedom. There will be activities all weekend, for all ages, to reflect on the past and consider ways to build a better future. Free.
  • Not So Spooky Skate. Friday, Oct. 28. 4:30-6:30 p.m. (Cabin John Ice Rink, 10610 Westlake Drive, Rockville); 5:30-7 p.m. (Wheaton Ice Arena, 11717 Orebaugh Avenue, Wheaton). Ice skate into Halloween at the Not So Spooky Skate. Skaters should come in costume so they can trick or treat at the rink and participate in the Halloween costume parade. Beginners welcome. Registration required. Ages 3-12. $12.
  • Biling├╝e: Papel Picado Nature Craft. Oct. 28-30. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Meadowside Nature Center, 5100 Meadowside Lane, Rockville. Celebrate Dia de los Muertos with the ancient Mexican art form of papel picado. Attendees will learn about the origins of the art form and how to create a DIY papel picado with materials found in the outdoors. Registration required. $7.
Montgomery Parks is a co-sponsor of the following event:

‘HalloWheaton’ Will Be an Afternoon of Fun, with a Costume Contest, on Marian Fryer Plaza in Downtown Wheaton on Sunday, Oct. 30

“HalloWheaton” will be an afternoon of fun events for all ages, including a costume contest, from noon-4 p.m. on Marian Fryer Town Plaza in Downtown Wheaton on Sunday, Oct. 30.

Marian Fryer Plaza is located at 2424 Reedie Drive in Wheaton.

The activities will include pumpkin painting, mask painting, face painting, S’mores roasting, craft projects, lawn games and hot chocolate. The activities are free.

The event also will have a beer garden, which will have charges. All proceeds from beer/wine sales go to Mid-County United Ministries, a local nonprofit organization that provides emergency food and assistance to people in need.

The costume contest will begin at 2 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Wheaton Urban District and Montgomery County Recreation.

More information about HalloWheaton is available at www.wheatonmd.org.

County Recreation Celebrating Fall with Festivals, Costume Contests, Movies and More

Montgomery County Recreation will host family-friendly events for everyone to enjoy during the fall season. From fall festivals to swimming with pumpkins, events will be hosted at community recreation centers, senior centers and aquatic facilities across the County throughout October.

Fall special events hosted by Montgomery County Recreation this year include:
  • Floating Pumpkin Patch. Ever picked a pumpkin in a swimming pool? For $5 per person, children ages 2-12 years will have the chance to swim around to pick a pumpkin and then decorate it. Events will take place at the Olney Swim Center, 16605 Georgia Ave., Olney, from 7:30-9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29; and at the Eunice Kennedy and Sargeant Shriver Aquatic Center, 5900 Executive Blvd., North Bethesda from 10-11:30 a.m. on Oct. 29 and Oct. 30.
  • Friday, Oct. 28. 7-9:30 p.m. Upper County Costume Movie Night. Upper County Community Recreation Center, 8201 Emory Grove Road, Germantown. Join a night of fun and make sure to wear your favorite, family friendly, costume. Bring your own blanket or chair.
  • Saturday, Oct. 29. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Therapeutic Recreation Saturday Night Social: Halloween Howl Dance. Holiday Park Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Drive, Wheaton. Annual Halloween costume extravaganza. Special event for ages 15 and up with disabilities will feature a DJ, dancing, games, pizza and other refreshments. Pre-registration is encouraged.
  • Monday, Oct. 31. 5-7 p.m. Bette Carol Thompson Scotland. Fall Harvest Festival. 7700 Scotland Drive, Potomac. Costume contest, giveaways, arts and crafts.
Registration for events can be completed online at ActiveMONTGOMERY.org. Not all events require registration. Registration for fall programs also is currently underway.

Rockville City Police Will Host Its First Free ‘Spooktacular Halloween Boo Bash’ on Sunday, Oct. 30

Rockville City Police Will Host Its First Free ‘Spooktacular Halloween Boo Bash’ on Sunday, Oct. 30

The Rockville City Police Department (RCPD) will host its first “Spooktacular Halloween Boo Bash” from noon-2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30, in the parking lot of the RCPD police station. All activities will be free.

The Rockville police station is located at 2 W. Montgomery Ave. in Rockville. Free parking will be available two blocks away at Rockville City Hall at 111 Maryland Ave. There also will be free parking on nearby streets as City of Rockville meters are not enforced on Sundays.

The Spooktacular will be an afternoon of trunk or treating, face painting, glitter tattoos, pumpkin decorating and a spooky sweet haunted house. There will be a pumpkin moon bounce and a costume contest for children and adults.

The event will be weather permitting.

As Veterans Day Approaches on Friday, Nov. 11, County Prepares to Join ‘Operation Green Light’ and Additions Sought for Tribute to County Veterans

As Veterans Day approaches on Friday, Nov. 11, Montgomery County is preparing to join the national “Operation Green Light” salute to veterans and the County’s Commission on Veterans Affairs is seeking additions to its virtual tribute to County veterans.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and the County Council are supporting the effort to join Operation Green Light, a program sponsored by the National Association of Counties to honor those who have made immeasurable sacrifices to preserve freedom. The program asks for displays of a green light, from Nov. 7-13, in a window of businesses or residences to honor veterans.

From Nov. 7-13, Montgomery County’s Memorial Plaza, which is located adjacent to the County Executive Building at 101 Monroe St. in Rockville, will be lit with green lights.

More information about Operation Green Light is available at https://www.naco.org/blog/counties-take-action-participate-operation-green-light-veterans.

The County’s Commission on Veterans Affairs is continuing to pay tribute to County veterans through a virtual “Tribute to Montgomery County Veterans” website. As Veterans Day approaches, the commission wants to add tributes to the site. The website is open to all residents who have served in military service.

In addition, there will be Montgomery County veterans’ tributes during the month of November in the display cases at the Rockville Memorial Library and the Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza.

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

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

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

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

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

To learn more about the Montgomery Commission on Veterans Affairs, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/cva.

Mountain Bike Skills Park to be Dedicated by Montgomery Parks on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Fairland Recreational Park in Burtonsville

The Pit at Fairland Bike Park, a new mountain bike skills park that includes a variety of features such as rollers, kicker ramps, wall rides, drops and skinnies of all types, will be dedicated by Montgomery Parks in special ceremonies from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29.

The Pit at Fairland Bike Park is approximately 6.5 acres with a parking lot. It also is accessible by the two-mile-long Crow’s Foot natural surface trail in Fairland Recreational Park.

Fairland Recreational Park is located at 3928 Greencastle Rd. in Burtonsville. The new mountain bike skills park is located at the intersection of Green Castle Ridge Terrace and Green Castle Road within the park.

Limited parking for the event will be onsite across from Greencastle Terrace. Overflow parking will be available at the park’s soccer field No. 5 along Greencastle Road.


Montgomery Parks Principal Natural Resources Specialist Bob Turnbull oversaw the completion of the project. He said Montgomery Parks’ trail crew, in collaboration with consultants American Ramp Company, has created a space that beginner, intermediate and advanced mountain bikers will love to ride.

“It’s built on the idea of progression, on the idea of building your skills so you can get better. And it's just a lot of fun,” he said. “And honestly, I think the trail crew knocked this one out of the park.”

A portion of the funding for the mountain bike skills park came from a $100,000 legislative bond initiative sponsored by Maryland House Majority Leader Delegate Eric Luedtke and State Sen. Craig Zucker. Both represent Maryland District 14, which includes Fairland Recreational Park.

‘Certain Party or Parties Unknown’ Art Exhibit in Silver Spring to Open on Wednesday, Nov. 2, and Be Available Through Jan. 13

Video Credit: 2021 Certain Party or Parties Unknown Sizzle Produced by Raul Zahir De Leon
A new exhibition at the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery and Music Room (Kramer Gallery) in the Silver Spring Civic Building showcasing original artworks by the seven artists featured in 2021’s outdoor installation Certain Party or Parties Unknown will open on Wednesday, Nov. 2, and be available through Jan. 13.

The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) is presenting the social justice projection art initiative raising awareness of three African American men who fell victim to racial terror lynchings in Montgomery County in the 1880s. Those victims were John Diggs-Dorsey, George Peck and Sidney Randolph.

The Silver Spring Civic Building is located at 1 Veterans Plaza in Downtown Silver Spring.

An opening reception for the Certain Party or Parties Unknown gallery exhibition will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2. Visitors will experience the new indoor exhibition and an original outdoor installation projected onto the face of the Silver Spring Civic Building throughout the evening by award-winning editor, video journalist and multimedia artist Robin Bell. Tickets can be reserved at https://cppugalleryexhibition.eventbrite.com.

The exhibit is being curated collaboratively by Alix Lambert, Curtis Woody, LaShell Rivers, Liz Miller, Nikki Brooks and Tim Davis, with support from AHCMC curator Heloisa Escudero. The exhibit will give space to the physical materials and artifacts each artist created when developing last year’s outdoor projection artworks. It will offer an opportunity to experience the works, gain insight into the creative process and reflect on the horrific part of Montgomery County’s history during Remembrance and Reconciliation Month.

“Reimagining the initial projection project allows visitors to further examine the topic of lynching and the role Montgomery County residents played in the late 1880s,” said AHCMC CEO Suzan Jenkins. “This exhibition acknowledges and educates residents on the county’s full history through public art as the artists have reimagined their original outdoor artworks for the Kramer Gallery. We remain hopeful the exhibition will lead to a better understanding of our past, deeper community conversations about racial justice and greater actions taken towards building a more equitable future together.”

To learn more about the 2021 CPPU project, visit

For more information about Montgomery County’s Public Art Collection and the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery and Music Room, visit https://www.creativemoco.com/kramer-gallery/.

‘Drinking Water in the DC Area: Past, Present and Future’ Will Be Focus of Montgomery History Online Presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 1

With Western states running out of water, could it happen here? “Drinking Water in the DC Area: Past, Present and Future” will be the focus of a Montgomery History online presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

Michael Nardolilli, the executive director of the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB), will trace the history of providing drinking water to the Washington, D.C. area. His presentation will address the current system and look at the future.

Authorized by an Act of Congress in 1940, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin is an advisory, non-regulatory interstate compact agency of the Potomac basin states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. The Federal government also is a member. ICPRB was formed in response to extreme pollution levels that required a regional, cooperative response by all the jurisdictions. In 1970, amendments to the compact empowered ICPRB, in addition to pollution issues, to also address water resources and related land issues by two or more jurisdictions.

The mission of ICPRB is to protect and enhance the waters and related resources of the Potomac River basin through science, regional cooperation and education.

To view the presentation, register for free at Webinar Registration - Zoom.

Montgomery Commission on Remembrance and Reconciliation Will Hold Special Month of Events in November

Montgomery County’s Commission on Remembrance and Reconciliation will hold special events and activities throughout the month of November, and encourages other groups to hold their own events, to promote a better understanding of County history—including recognition of three men who were the victims of racial terror lynchings in the late 1800s.

The commission was established by the Montgomery County Council to help bring the County together. Among the highlights of Remembrance and Reconciliation Month will be the Certain Party or Parties Unknown Art Exhibit that kicks off on Wednesday, Nov. 2, and ceremonies on Sunday, Nov. 20, to induct new members into the County’s Human Rights Hall of Fame.

The schedule of events actually gets started in late October. A celebration of Emancipation Day will be held at Button Farm Living History Center in Germantown on Saturday, Oct. 29.

There will be two major events on Saturday, Nov. 5. The Sandy Spring Slave Museum Emancipation Day Open House will have a full day of activities starting at 10 a.m. A Montgomery County: Historical Black Sites and Places Bus tour hosted by the Lincoln Park Historical Foundation, Inc. will begin at noon.

The commission is composed of community leaders who work with the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), the Montgomery County Lynching Memorial Project and other community stakeholders to commemorate the three locations in the County where racial terror lynchings have been documented.

The project seeks to memorialize and honor two men who were lynched in Rockville—John Diggs-Dorsey (in 1880) and Sidney Randolph (in 1896)—and George Peck, who was lynched in Poolesville (in 1880).

The schedule of events for Remembrance and Reconciliation Month:
  • Saturday, Oct. 29. Noon-3 p.m. Button Farm Living History Center, 16820 Black Rock Rd., Germantown. Celebrate Emancipation Day. More information at https://buttonfarm.org/.
  • Nov. 1-30. Montgomery County Public Schools teaches lessons on African American Historical Communities. Throughout the month, MCPS students will receive instruction in local African American community history.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 1. 7 p.m. Sandy Spring Slave Museum Emancipation Day Virtual Program. More information at https://www.sandyspringslavemuseum.org/.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 2. 6-8 p.m. Certain Party or Parties Unknown Exhibit Kickoff (available all month). Silver Spring Civic Center, 1 Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring. Hosted by Arts and Humanities Council. Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/certain-party-or-parties-unknown-tickets-441252517157.
  • Saturday, Nov 5. 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Montgomery County: Historical Black Sites and Places Bus Tour hosted by Lincoln Park Historical Foundation, Inc. (fee charged). For registration and more information, email sherlenelucas@aol.com.
  • Saturday, Nov. 5. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sandy Spring Slave Museum Emancipation Day Open House. 18524 Brooke Rd., Sandy Spring. Stories of Underground Railroad. 2-4 p.m. (Fee charged.) Gospel Choir (5-8:30 p.m. Fee charged). More information at https://www.sandyspringslavemuseum.org/.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 8. 7 p.m. Broadcast of Unwritten Law. It is a symposium on the lynchings in Rockville. Hosted by Montgomery History. MCM Cable Channel 21.
  • Thursday, Nov. 10. 7 p.m. Broadcast of Remembrance Conference and Soil Ceremony for John Diggs-Dorsey and Sidney Randolph. Hosted by Montgomery County Lynching Memorial Project. MCM Cable Channel 21.
  • Tuesday-Thursday, Nov. 15-17. 6:30 p.m. MCPS Changemaker Workshops. Hosted by MCPS. Activists will help students and families learn strategies to address challenges in their communities. SLS hours available for attending. Register at https://mcpsmd.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_JdGxmIbwTlmuLzsKQR4iMA.
  • Sunday, Nov. 20. 3 p.m. Human Rights Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Towns Commons Dr., Germantown. Hosted by Montgomery County Office of Human Rights. Nomination forms and more information can be found at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/humanrights/.
  • Monday, Nov. 21. 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Montgomery College “Let’s Talk! Montgomery County’s Journey Toward Remembrance and Reconciliation.” Hosted by Montgomery College. Register at https://bit.ly/letstalkmoco.

Alcohol Beverage Services Partners with MCGEO for ‘Labor of Love Initiative’ to Benefit March of Dimes

Montgomery County’s Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) and UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO, in conjunction with County Executive Marc Elrich, are supporting the “Labor of Love Initiative” benefiting March of Dimes. The campaign will take place Oct. 30-Nov. 19.

All County liquor and wine stores, including its new Oak Barrel & Vine stores, will be asking customers if they want to make donations to support March of Dimes and the Labor of Love Initiative. Customers also will be asked if they want to round up their invoices to the nearest dollar.

ABS and UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO have set a goal of raising $60,000 in the initiative, with monies raised to help March of Dimes improve maternal health, help babies be healthy and strong and protect the health of families through programs and advocacy.

“Supporting March of Dimes is a great way for us all to give back to our local community,” said ABS Director Kathie Durbin. “ABS has always been committed to public health and safety, and this campaign is a natural extension of that commitment. Together we can help assure that every mom and every baby have the best possible start.”

The March of Dimes approach:
  • Fund and support innovative research to solve the biggest problems in maternal and infant health.
  • Advocate for prioritization of moms and babies and action to improve their health.
  • Educate and help every family have healthy pregnancies regardless of wealth, race, gender or geography.
The U.S. remains one of the most dangerous developed countries to give birth. Two women die from pregnancy related issues each day, two babies die every hour in the U.S., and one in 10 is born too soon. Learn more about March of Dimes at www.marchofdimes.org/.

“For more than 80 years, the March of Dimes has been improving the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature births and lowering infant mortality rates,” said County Executive Elrich. “I want to thank ABS and MCGEO for teaming up to support the March of Dimes through their ‘Labor of Love’ campaign. In addition to the health and safety benefits ABS provides Montgomery County through safe alcohol distribution, we are really proud of the contributions of ABS employees through volunteering, fundraising and supporting nonprofit partners like the March of Dimes.”

ABS is the alcohol wholesaler of beer, wine and spirits for Montgomery County and operates 26 retail stores throughout the County. In addition, ABS manages alcohol licensing, enforcement and education for more than 1,000 businesses. Generating more than $35 million in net income annually, its profits are used to pay down County debt with a large portion deposited in the general fund to pay for resident services that would otherwise be funded by County tax dollars. Follow ABS on Facebook and Twitter.

Free, Contactless Shredding and Electronics Recycling Event to be Held in Gaithersburg on Saturday, Nov. 5

A free Community Shredding and Electronics Recycling event will take place at the Activity Center at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg from 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Nov. 5. The event will be presented by the City of Gaithersburg, in partnership with the Gaithersburg Environmental Affairs Committee, Georgetown Paper and e-End. While the shredding services are free, food donations to support the efforts of the Gaithersburg HELP pantry also will be collected.

The event will be held in the parking lot of Bohrer Park, which is located 506 South Frederick Ave. in Gaithersburg. The collection area will be next to the Skate Park and Water Park. The event is open to all, not just City of Gaithersburg residents.

Visitors will be asked to pop their trunks upon proceeding to the shred truck. Staff will remove boxes without making contact. Acceptable items for shredding include all types of paper, including receipts, tax and medical records and financial and legal documents. Paper with staples and paperclips (no binder clips) will be accepted, as will envelopes with plastic windows. If paper is in three-ring binders or is spiral bound, bindings must be removed before coming to the event.

Learn more about shredding at www.gtownpaper.com. All shredding will be done on site.

E-waste will be accepted in a designated truck. For the safety of residents, staff and volunteers, only one car may approach the E-waste truck at a time. Visitors will be asked to deposit E-waste into the truck themselves. Please consider donating items before disposing of them. Items that will be accepted include:
  • CDs and computer disks
  • Towers
  • Laptops
  • Circuit boards
  • Tablets
  • Mobile phones
  • Toner and ink cartridges
E-waste will be stored in a secure location before being picked up by e-End, a secure data destruction company.

Donations of nonperishable food items to benefit the Gaithersburg HELP food pantry are encouraged. They will be removed from donors’ trunks by volunteers. Suggested items include canned soup, canned vegetables, canned tomatoes with low salt, fruit cup up in its own juice, cereal, fortified pastas, rice and dried beans of all kinds, baby food, macaroni and cheese mixes, canned tuna, peanut or other nut butters, gluten free pastas and spaghetti sauce. No fruit juices will be accepted. The pantry is also in need of baby formula and diapers. Learn more about the organization at www.gaithersburghelp.org.

For more information about the community shredding event and environmental initiatives in Gaithersburg, visit www.gaithersburgmd.gov.