March 30, 2023

Message from the County Executive


Dear Friends,

Greetings from Taipei, Taiwan. This week, I have been in Taiwan leading an economic development mission from Montgomery County. It has been an incredible week to talk, listen and learn with government and business leaders from around the world. I look forward to sharing more about our successes and reflections on this trip next week.

In lieu of my weekly video this week—and to honor to the end of Women’s History Month—I hope you enjoy the video message from three Montgomery County women trailblazers who made history: former State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, former First Lady of Montgomery County Catherine Leggett and former Maryland State Del. Ana Sol Gutiérrez. These three women shared advice for the next generation of female leaders. Look for their full-length interviews with the Jodi Finkelstein, executive director of Montgomery County’s Commission for Women, soon.

Montgomery County has a strong legacy of women representing important issues that impact our quality of life. It was trailblazers like Nancy Kopp, Catherine Leggett and Ana Sol Gutiérrez who broke barriers and enabled this County to have for the first time in County history a female majority on our County Council. I encourage you to hear what these women have to say about what Women’s History Month means to them. View the video at

Throughout March, the County has done a wonderful job of sharing stories of successful women who work in our government and how they lead us forward. The County also has hosted educational forums and contests. I appreciate those who put together these programs and activities and encourage everyone to continue engage, educate and support the progress and empowerment of Montgomery County women.

Taiwan Trip Focused on Economic Development

We often are reminded about our best attributes when reflected through the eyes of others. This is how I routinely felt this week in Taiwan as businesses and government leaders around the world complimented our County on our innovative approaches, forward thinking policies and ambitious goals.

We were invited to be a part of this year's Smart City Summit and Expo in Taipei. The trip is an outgrowth of an invitation I received from the Taipei Computer Association to speak at the conference about Montgomery County's Climate Action Plan and Net Zero activities. Montgomery County was a featured delegation at this summit, which was attended by 1,300 people from 47 countries.

Joining me on the trip were County Councilmember Natali Fani-González, chair of the Council’s Economic Development Committee; Kevin Beverly, board chair of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC); Gail Roper, Montgomery County’s chief information officer; and Judy Costello, the County's special projects manager for Business, Innovation and Economic Development. Five businesses in Smart Cities-related technologies also are attending the conference as delegation members. They are DSFederal, Lumo Imaging, Machfu, Person Clinic, and TCCS, LLC.

On Monday, we met with leaders of Taipei Medical University and National Taiwan University. I discussed collaborating with their AI and bio-design accelerator programs and developing synergies with the upcoming University of Maryland Institute for Health Computing. We also spent time actively recruiting talented people and businesses interested in expanding their operations and establishing an office in the United States. We shared with them the benefits of choosing Montgomery County: a booming life sciences industry, proximity to several Federal agencies that need life science professionals and the most diverse community in the U.S.

I also met with Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an, the Taiwan External Development Council (TAITRA) and leaders in the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Our group visited with high-technology companies such as Advantech, Taiwan AI Medical, Mitac and Unimicron Technology Corportation to learn about their work and discuss future collaboration opportunities.

Grant Program for Small Businesses Impacted by Purple Line Construction

Work continues on the Purple Line, a rail line that will directly connect Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Until it is up and running, many businesses that lie along the future route are dealing with the growing pains of construction.

To help alleviate the financial hardships that come with street closures, limited parking and other challenges, the County Council and the Montgomery County Business Center are partnering up for a second round of assistance for small businesses that qualify. We will begin taking applications for the grant money on Saturday, April 1.

In the first round of funding, 40 businesses were chosen through a lottery system and received assistance. We estimate close to 400 businesses to be in similar positions. For this second round of funding, businesses that were not chosen before will be prioritized.

Here are more qualifying factors for business owners interested in applying. To be eligible, they must be businesses:
  • Established prior to Aug. 1, 2017.
  • Registered and in good standing with the Maryland State Department of Assessment & Taxation (SDAT).
  • That have suffered revenue loss due to the construction of the Purple Line Light Rail project.
  • That have a physical location identified as adjacent to the construction of the Purple Line Light Rail project, as determined by the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA).
  • Employing 20 or fewer employees.
  • Independently owned and operated
  • That are not a subsidiary of another business.
  • Not dominant in their field of operations.
The money for this project comes from the State of Maryland and is specifically meant to help business owners impacted the most by the Purple Line project. I am glad that we are able to help small businesses this way because they are the foundation of our local and State economies. If you are interested in learning more or applying, follow this link to our Business Center website.

Celebrating ‘Earth Month’ Throughout April

“Earth Day” is April 22, but throughout April we are going to be celebrating “Earth Month” in Montgomery County. We will be highlighting events that promote sustainability, conservation and eco-friendliness.

Highlight events in April will include a two-day GreenFest event in Wheaton. The events will be at Brookside Gardens on Saturday, April 22, and at Marian Fryer Town Plaza on Sunday, April 23. Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation also will host free classes for adults to help them learn how to ride bikes and scooters so they can keep their cars parked more often. A social media campaign will aim to cut down on the amount of usable food that is wasted. Montgomery Parks will start the month with a free tree sapling giveaway at South Germantown Recreational Park on Saturday, April 1. On that day, South Germantown Park also will host “Petals and Paws,” a free event from 9-11 a.m. on the HeartSmart trail. You can also expect native plant sales and park cleanups throughout the month.

I am excited to see our County coming together to celebrate the beauty of our natural resources and preserve it for generations to come. I encourage everyone to take part in the activities and initiatives we have planned and to make sustainable choices every day.

In Montgomery County, we have an ambitious Climate Action Plan (CAP) to cut community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2027 and 100 percent by 2035, compared to 2005 levels. We cannot get there without your help.

I am proud to report that during the first year of CAP implementation, County departments and agencies actively worked on 75 climate actions out of the 86 actions identified in the CAP. In Fiscal Year 2023, County departments and agencies intend to make progress on 77 climate actions.

This past week, Montgomery County hosted its 10th annual Montgomery County Energy Summit. Hundreds of people heard from the director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon and industry leaders about preparing the commercial building community for compliance with energy benchmarking, building energy performance standards and emerging building codes. I was sorry to miss the conference, but appreciated Rich Madeleno, the County’s Chief Administrative Officer, for attending and speaking to the group.

The conference is an excellent example of how we are successfully bringing the public and private sectors together to develop a path forward to increase building energy performance, boost economic opportunities and create jobs in Montgomery County—all while working toward our climate action goals.

National Public Health Week

The first week of April marks National Public Health Week. During the week, we will be thanking the public health professionals that work for Montgomery County by showing how diverse and expansive is our Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Through the DHHS Twitter and Facebook platforms, as well as Healthy Montgomery’s Twitter and Instagram, we will deliver daily messages corresponding to daily themes. The themes are:
  • Community (Monday, April 3)
  • Violence Prevention (Tuesday, April 4)
  • Reproductive and Sexual Health (Wednesday, April 5)
  • Mental Health (Thursday, April 6)
  • Rural Health (Friday, April 7)
  • Accessibility (Saturday, April 8)
  • Food and Nutrition (Sunday, April 9)
Beyond those categories, we rely on DHHS to monitor health status, implement intervention strategies and to contain or prevent disease (including bio-terrorism and emerging diseases.) It fosters public-private partnerships, which increase access to health services, develop and implement programs and strategies to address health needs and provide individual- and community-level health education. We also count on DHHS to evaluate the effectiveness of public health programs and strategies and to license and inspect facilities and institutions affecting public health and safety. DHHS also monitors, assesses and communicates community population health data and information via Healthy Montgomery, the County’s community health improvement effort.

Look out for those social posts and share them so we can let even more people know how appreciative we are of the public health workers who keep our community safe.

As for our community health update for this week, COVID-19 continues to pose a ‘low’ threat. Our case rates and COVID hospitalization statistics are around the same level they were last week.

Keeping your loved ones up to date with their boosters is still highly recommended. Last spring, we saw a lull in cases before they shot back up during the summer. Remember, you can still pick up test kits from your local library, but please limit how many you take.

School Shooting in Nashville

When this week began, we could not have imagined the tragic loss of six people shot and killed during an attack on a school in Nashville, Tenn. Three of those victims were 9 years old. One of the saddest facts to come from the news coverage of this event is that gun violence is now the No. 1 cause of death among children in our country, surpassing car accidents.

How can that be?

Let’s hope the shock and horror of this latest school shooting is enough for lawmakers to get serious about enacting the kind of restrictions that prevent someone from waging war on unarmed men, women and children. This is not the kind of society prior generations of leaders envisioned nor one we should have. We must find the common ground to protect the innocent from dying from gun violence or living through the kind of nightmare that Nashville is now dealing with.

As always, my appreciation for all of you,

Marc Elrich
County Executive

March 29, 2023

County Executive Elrich Leading Economic Development Mission to Taiwan to Promote County and to Recruit High-Tech Companies

County Executive Elrich Leading Economic Development Mission to Taiwan to Promote County and to Recruit High-Tech Companies

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich this week is leading an economic development mission to Taiwan to promote the advantages for Taiwanese organizations to establish or expand their U.S. operations in Montgomery County. The trip is an outgrowth of an invitation he received from the Taipei Computer Association (TCA) to speak at its 2023 Smart Cities Summit and Expo the County’s Climate Action Plan and Net Zero activities. Montgomery County now is a featured delegation at this Summit, which has more than 1,300 attendees from 47 countries around the world.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to promote all the great things happening in Montgomery County on an international stage,” said County Executive Elrich. “I’m looking forward to meeting with Taiwanese business and academic leaders to learn more about their activities and to speak with them about why Montgomery County is a top location for them to enter or expand their presence in the United States.”

Joining the County Executive for the trip are County Councilmember Natali Fani-Gonzalez, chair of the Council’s Economic Development Committee; Kevin Beverly, board chair of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC); Gail Roper, Montgomery County’s chief information officer; and Judy Costello, Montgomery County's special projects manager for Business, Innovation and Economic Development. Five businesses in Smart Cities-related technologies are also attending the conference as delegation members. They are DFSFederal, Lumo Imaging, Machfu, Person Clinic, and TCCS, LLC..

“Getting Montgomery County’s economy moving and working for everyone is my top priority as the Chair of Council Economic Development Committee,” said Councilmember Fani-González. “That is why I am thrilled to join the County Executive and County business leaders on this delegation to Taiwan to bring investment and jobs to the County. We will aggressively court businesses and academic and research institutions to choose Montgomery County for their next location.”

MCEDC is hoping to have a significant impact during the visit.

“I am pleased to accompany our County Executive, Marc Elrich, and others of our delegation on our global trade mission to Taiwan,” said Mr. Beverly. “The opportunity to expand our understanding of the international landscape and expand our opportunities with Taiwanese companies through new partnerships on the global stage is good for business in Montgomery County."

Meetings for the delegates started Monday, March 27, with visits to Taipei Medical University and National Taiwan University to meet with university leaders and top AI researchers. On Monday afternoon, the County hosted an information session about Montgomery County for 50 business or business incubation leaders including many who would like to establish a presence in the United States. On Monday evening, delegates met with the chair of the Taiwan External Development Council (TAITRA) and leaders in the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On Friday, March 31, the County Executive will be meeting with Chiang Wan-an, the mayor of Taipei. Mr. Elrich is one of only four members of the 1,300 conference participants who will have the opportunity to participate in the Mayor’s conference-ending press conference.

Throughout the week, delegates met with potential collaborators, customers and suppliers on the exhibit floor and in pre-arranged partnering/matchmaking meetings. They will also visit leading high-technology companies such as Advantech, Taiwan AI Medical, Mitac and Umicron Technology to learn about their work and discuss future collaboration opportunities. Mitac already has a project started with Montgomery County-based National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence.

County Recreation Offering a Variety of Spring Break Programs

County Recreation Offering a Variety of Spring Break Programs

Montgomery County Recreation is offering a variety of special programs during the Montgomery County Public Schools spring break week of April 3-7. The programs will include fun activities, sports and games for youth and teens at various community recreation centers. Inclusion and Therapeutic Recreation options are available for individuals with disabilities.

Explore the available programs and sign up here.

Another option for boys and girls ages 11-18 is participating in the Spring Break Basketball program at North Potomac Community Recreation Center. The program will be held Tuesday, April 4, and Wednesday, April 5. To learn more and register for this free program, ask for information at any local community recreation center.

Montgomery County Recreation has also partnered with KID Museum to offer “School Day Out” Tuesday, April 4, through Thursday, April 6, for children in grades 2-7. The program is $10 per day. Programs will include Motion Commotion, Space KIDs and Making Magic for grades 2-4 and Printmakers, Mini Movie Making and Energy in Motion for grades 5-7.

Participants in “School Day Out” can get dropped off at East County Community Recreation Center or Plum Gar Community Recreation Center at 8 a.m. and be picked up at the end of the program each day between 4:30-4:45 p.m. A bus will take those registered to the KID Museum for a day filled with activity.

Visit the website to learn more about the programs and sign up. Use the filter “Daily Camps.”

Camps and Special Activities Will Be Offered by Montgomery Parks During Montgomery County Public Schools’ Spring Break

A week of fun camps and activities for the first week of April, coinciding with Montgomery County Public Schools spring break, will be held by Montgomery Parks.

Spring break camps and activities will include:
  • Spring Break Skating Clinics at Wheaton Ice Arena. April 3-7. 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wheaton Ice Arena, 11717 Orebaugh Ave, Wheaton. Skaters will be grouped by level for a daily skating lesson. They will also receive an introduction to dryland training focusing on balance and flexibility. Ages 5-14. Registration required. Fee: $55-$60 per day.
  • Staycation at Little Bennett Regional Park and Campground. March 31-April 10. Enjoy a staycation at Little Bennett Campground in Clarksburg. There will be daily activities for families staying at the campground during spring break. Campsite reservations can be made at the Little Bennett Campground website.
  • Spring Eye Spy Trains. April 3-7 and every Saturday and Sunday in April. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Cabin John Regional Park, 7400 Tuckerman Ln, Bethesda and Wheaton Regional Park, 2000 Shorefield Rd, Silver Spring. Get your “Eye Spy” card and spot nature themed items along the tracks as you ride the train in this fun family activity. Tickets available on ActiveMontgomery. Fee: $5 per person. Children under 2 ride free with adult.
  • Herp Hunt at Rachel Carson. Tuesday, April 4. 3:30-5 p.m. Black Hill Visitor Center, 20930 Lake Ridge Dr., Boyds. Spring is one of the best times to see reptiles and amphibians in nature. Trek through Black Hill Regional Park to search for tadpoles, frogs, salamanders and snakes. Registration required. Fee: $7.
  • Nature’s Eggs. Wednesday, April 5. 2-3 p.m. Meadowside Nature Center, 5100 Meadowside Ln, Rockville. At the event, participants will dye eggs with natural materials. Use flowers, ferns, and leaves to make gorgeous prints on your spring eggs. Registration required. Fee: $7
  • Wild Forest Time. Wednesday, April 5. 2-3:30 p.m. Black Hill Visitor Center, 20930 Lake Ridge Drive Boyds. Program lets you explore nature in your own way. Drop in at the campfire circle area any time during the program to join the fun. Registration required. Free.
  • Spring Break for History at Josiah Henson Special Park. April 5-6. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Josiah Henson Special Park, 1410 Old Georgetown Rd, North Bethesda. School is out but the learning continues with this interactive history lesson at Josiah Henson Museum and Park. The museum will be open special hours for self-guided tours and hands-on activities for families. Admission is $4 for children and seniors, $5 for adults. Tickets available onsite.
  • MCPS No School Day: Naturalist for a Day. Thursday, April 6. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Meadowside Nature Center, 5100 Meadowside Ln, Rockville. Become a naturalist for the day and prepare to get dirty. Try out various gear used by explorers of the outdoors, such as scooping the pond with nets, hiking the trails with binoculars and preparing food for the animal ambassadors. Registration required. Fee: $30.
  • Animals from Eggs Hunt. Thursday, April 6. 9:30-10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.-noon. Maydale Nature Classroom, 1638 Maydale Drive, Colesville. A naturalist teaches what animals hatch from eggs, then leads a hike to the meadow, pond and forest in search of plastic eggs filled with baby animal toys to take home. Registration required. Fee: $6.
  • Spring Break for History at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park. April 6-8. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 16501 Norwood Road Sandy Spring. Learn about Montgomery County’s agricultural past and the area’s role in the Underground Railroad at the Woodlawn Museum. Admission: $5 adults, $4 seniors and children 5-and-over. Free for children under 5. Tickets sold at Visitor’s Center.
  • Spring Break for History Underground Railroad Guided Hike. April 7-8. 10-11:30 a.m. Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park, 16501 Norwood Road Sandy Spring. Join a two-mile roundtrip on the Underground Railroad Experience Trail. Learn the methods freedom-seekers used for navigation, eluding detection and finding food and shelter on their perilous journey. Tickets must be purchased by noon the day before the hike on ActiveMontgomery. Limited day-of tickets sold at the Visitor Center. Appropriate for ages 7 and up. Admission: $8.
  • Community Science. April 7-30. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Locust Grove Nature Center, 7777 Democracy Blvd, Bethesda. Sharpen your observation skills and get to know your animal neighbors. There is a hidden world of activity in our urban landscape for you to discover. Contribute to a few important community science projects. Sign up for email with complete schedule of activities (Not required). Free.
  • Full Moon Fridays. Friday, April 7. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Locust Grove Nature Center, 7777 Democracy Blvd, Bethesda. Join the magic of the full moon for a hike and campfire. Feel free to bring your own hot dogs or food to warm over the fire. Marshmallows provided. Register and pay for adults and children. $8 per person.
  • Park in the Dark. Friday, April 7. 7:30-8:30 p.m. Brookside Nature Center, 1400 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton. Who is active in Wheaton Regional Park once the sun sets? Find out on this evening hike. Hike will explore the park in the dark on a gentle hike best for ages 6-and-over. Adults and children must register. Fee: $7.
  • Celebrating African Rhythms through Dance and Song at Oakley Cabin. Saturday, April 8. Noon-4 p.m. Oakley Cabin African American Museum and Park, 3610 Brookeville Rd., Olney. Oakley Cabin opens for the season with a free dance workshop. Explore rhythms from the African diaspora in West Africa, the Caribbean Islands, Europe, and North and South America. Parking at Mt. Zion Local Park, 5130 Brookeville Road, Brookville. Free shuttle provided throughout the afternoon. Event is free.
  • Hummingbirds 101. Saturday, April 8. 1-2 p.m. Meadowside Nature Center, 5100 Meadowside Lane, Rockville. Learn about what hummingbirds are looking for in their habitats. Then create some easy, cost-effective DIY hummingbird feeders and nectar. Ages 8 and up. Registration required. Fee: $7
  • Turtle Talk. Saturday, April 8. 3-3:30 p.m. Brookside Nature Center, 1400 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton. Eastern Box turtles love to soak up the springtime sun. Visit the outdoor turtle enclosure and learn all about the history and conservation of these iconic reptiles. Event will be canceled if it rains. Free, but registration is required.
  • Turtle Escapades. Saturday, April 8. 2-4 p.m. Brookside Nature Center, 1400 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton. Explore the grounds of Brookside Nature Center on this self-guided hike and scavenger hunt. A missing turtle has left clues, and if you follow them, you will surely help bring him back home. This activity should take under an hour. Adults and children must register. $5.

County Council Enacts Bill to Establish Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Commission

County Council Enacts Bill to Establish Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Commission

The Montgomery County Council this week enacted legislation to establish an Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Commission. The legislation is supported by the full Council, County Executive Marc Elrich and the County’s Commission on People with Disabilities. The purpose of this bill is to better coordinate services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families.

“Addressing the complex system navigation needs, gaps in services and State and County challenges impacts more than 40,000 people of all ages who have an intellectual and developmental disability in our County,” said Councilmember Gabe Albornoz, chair of the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee. “An independent commission that will promote communication with families, advocates and providers is critical.”

County Executive Elrich has been a strong supporter of the bill.

“I applaud the unanimous vote of the County Council to approve the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Commission,” said County Executive Elrich. “I greatly appreciate the leadership of Councilmember Albornoz and was pleased to work with him on this important legislation. As a parent of an adult foster child with IDD, I know that people in the community with direct experiences can help us. We will begin the task of recruitment for the members of the commission and look forward to the commission beginning the tasks of identifying and advocating for the unique needs of people with IDD and fostering dialogue with families and caregivers,”.

The new IDD Commission will have 24 members, including individuals from the intellectual and developmental disability community, service providers, service agencies and the Commission on People with Disabilities. It will focus on promoting direct communication among families, support staff, private and public organizations and residents about programs and services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The commission also will provide educational programs, identify current gaps in services and provide advice and recommendations on best practices to the County and the County Executive.

‘When the Stars Came to Gaithersburg: Remembering the Shady Grove Music Fair’ Will Be Focus of Montgomery History Online Presentation on Thursday, April 6

Remembering the Shady Grove Music Fair’ Will Be Focus of Montgomery History Online Presentation

For most of the 1960s and ’70s, Gaithersburg was an entertainment mecca for the greater Washington area. Shady Grove Music Fair—first under a big-top tent and then in a theater-in-the-round venue complete with a revolving stage—hosted Broadway hits and a wide variety of pop, rock and soul singers. That era will be the subject of Montgomery History online presentation at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 6.

“When the Stars Came to Gaithersburg: Remembering the Shady Grove Music Fair” will be hosted by Ralph Buglass. He is a Montgomery County native and avid history buff who speaks frequently to community groups, businesses and at national conferences.

Among the many stars who performed at the Shady Grove Music Fair were Simon and Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen, James Brown, Rod Stewart, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Duke Ellington, Tony Bennett, the Allman Brothers, Tom Jones, Cher and the Jackson 5. Tickets often started at $4.75.

The Music Fair also hosted many graduation ceremonies of Montgomery County high schools.

The Music Fair was an arena theatre where the audience surrounded the stage. At one point, the stage actually rotated.

After only 16 years, the curtain came down in 1978. The site at the intersection of I-270 and Shady Grove Road, is now occupied by office buildings.

To join the presentation, go to Webinar Registration - Zoom.

Best-selling Cartoonist Kate Beaton Will Be Next Featured Speaker in Montgomery County Public Libraries Virtual Author Series on Tuesday, April 4

Best-selling Cartoonist Kate Beaton Will Be Next Featured Speaker in Montgomery County Public Libraries Virtual Author Series on Tuesday, April 4

Kate Beaton, the best-selling cartoonist of Hark! A Vagrant! and Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands will be the next featured speaker at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4, in the continuing free Virtual Author Series presented by Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL). The series hosts best-selling, award-winning and highly acclaimed authors from around the world.

The featured writers in the series will cover a wide range of fiction and nonfiction genres. The series includes the opportunity to ask the authors questions. Registration is required to join each talk.

A complete list of events is available on the Virtual Author Talks site on the MCPL website.

Upcoming speakers for the Virtual Author Talk Series include:
  • Tuesday, April 4. 7 p.m. Kate Beaton. Best-selling cartoonist of Hark! A Vagrant! and Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands. Register at
  • Thursday, April 27. 8 p.m. William Kent Krueger. No. 1 best-selling author of more than 20 books including This Tender Land and Lightning Strike. Register at
All Virtual Author Talks are recorded. For more information, access to registration or to view past Virtual Author Talks, visit Montgomery County Public Libraries Virtual Author Talks.

‘How to Dance at an Indian Wedding’ Will Be Among Highlights of the Around the World Bazaar in Silver Spring on Friday, March 31

For many people, attending an Indian wedding is quite an experience in almost every way. Just trying to keep up with the dancing is something special—and so much fun. For those who want to know more about “How to Dance at an Indian Wedding,” the SAPAN Institute will lead a festive class of Bhangra Bollywood-style dance as part of the Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. Around the World Bazaar from 7-8:30 p.m. on Friday, March 31, at the Silver Spring Civic Building.

The Around the World Bazaar will fill the Silver Spring Civic Building with a variety of events from 5-10 p.m. on March 31.

Other highlights of the Bazaar will include:
  • The Positive Vibrations Youth Steel Orchestra directed by Khandeya Sheppard. PVYO has been sharing its melodies nationally and internationally since 1996. 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Orfeia is a women’s vocal ensemble dedicated to preserving and sharing traditional music from Bulgaria and Eastern Europe. Orfeia’s repertoire spans the rich and diverse musical heritage of Eastern Europe, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Russia and their neighbors. 6:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Carpe Diem Arts is dedicated to serving diverse audiences with quality arts experiences representing a broad range of cultural traditions and artistic disciplines. Activities include Spanish immersion and summer arts camps, after-school programs, community dances, concert series, monthly family sings, cultural enrichment programs and residencies in schools, ukulele classes,and performance opportunities for all ages. Featured will be singer and songwriter Lilo Gonzalez, who is from El Salvador. For many years, he has lived in Takoma Park. 5-6 p.m.
  • Hālau Nohona Hawai`i (HNH) is a Hawaiian cultural school founded in 2014. Its name refers to all things anchored in Hawaiian; living the Hawaiian way. Its mission is to cultivate, protect and perpetuate the cultural practices, knowledge and traditions of nā kūpuna (elders). It will perform from 8:30-9:30 p.m.
The South Asian Performing Arts Network and Institute (SAPAN Institute) is a nonprofit performing arts company based in Washington, D.C.

All ages and abilities welcome to the free event, but it is suggested to reserve a spot in the program in advance. To do that, send an email to

This program is being presented in collaboration with Olney Theatre, which is presenting A Nice Indian Boy through April 9.

Residents Asked to Complete Survey and Provide Input on Future Bethesda Market Park

Residents Asked to Complete Survey and Provide Input on Future Bethesda Market Park

Montgomery Parks  is seeking ideas for a new park in Downtown Bethesda and is encouraging residents to share suggestions by taking a brief online survey. Comments from the survey will be used in developing concept plans for the park, which will be presented to the public in May.

The Bethesda Market Park project will repurpose two parking lots adjacent to the historic Montgomery Farm Women’s Cooperative Market. When completed, the park and the adjacent Elm Street Urban Park will provide approximately four acres of urban park space in Downtown Bethesda.

“This green space will be a gathering place for people across the County to recreate, relax and gather in an urban setting,” said Linda Komes, project manager and landscape architect. “We are really interested to hear from the public about what they would like to see here because there are so many opportunities to make it a unique destination.”

The parks department hosted in-person meetings on March 15 and 16 to present details about the project. A recording of the presentation is available on the project webpage.

Montgomery Potters Member Artwork Now on Exhibit at Gaithersburg Arts Barn

Montgomery Potters Member Artwork Now on Exhibit at Gaithersburg Arts Barn

A ceramics exhibit featuring works by members of Montgomery Potters is on display through June 4 at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn. A meet the artists event will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, at the Arts Barn and Kentlands Mansion, where the Gaithersburg Fine Arts Association’s exhibition will be on display.

The Arts Barn is located at 311 Kent Square Road in Gaithersburg, The Montgomery Potters display is viewable from 1-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, during events, classes and other activities or by appointment.

The joint artists reception is open to all and free to attend. Light refreshments will be served. Masks and social distancing are encouraged, but not required.

Members of Montgomery Potters also will provide docent tours of the exhibit from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. during the Arts Barn’s 20th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, April 15.

“We are so pleased to welcome the Montgomery Potters to the Arts Barn Gallery,” said Gallery Program Coordinator Jaree Donnelly. “Their work is terrific and varied in style, and we hope our patrons will enjoy perusing the pieces from this talented group of artists and choose to acquire something from the exhibit for their collection or to give as a wonderful, unique gift.”

The group is exhibiting 109 pieces and will replenish with additional work as the exhibit continues. Participating artists include Lisa Battle, Beth-Ellen Berry, Pamela Berry, Janet Bolton, Sharrie Booth, David Bunk, Christine Coyle, Cynthia Deitch, Katrinka Ebbe, Dorothy Herman, Nancy Jakubowski, Natalia Kormeluk, Peter Kosa, Lisa Kowalewski, Linda Pescarmona, Roni Polisar, Savitha M. Rao, Berta Romero-Fonte, Elisabeth Running, Loren Scherbak, Clarissa Yeap and Robin D. Ziek.

Initially established as The Clay Pigeons in 1952, the club renamed itself in 1967 as Montgomery Potters to reflect the broader community that had grown up around clay. Montgomery Potters strives to bring clay artists together in the spirit of friendship and creativity to share knowledge and ideas. The club facilitates building skills through workshops and programs, exchanging ideas on all aspects of ceramics, and stimulating community interest in ceramics. Learn more at

Most of the included artwork is for sale and all images are copyrighted by the artists. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 301-258-6394, e-mail, or visit the Arts Barn gallery webpage.

The Arts on the Green visual arts program 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

County to Sponsor Seven Pit Stops During Washington Region’s Annual ‘Bike to Work Day’ on Friday, May 19

National Bike to Work Day will be held on Friday, May 19, and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) will sponsor seven pit stops throughout the County as part of the Washington Region’s participation in the event. Registration for the free event is now open. The first 15,000 bicyclists to register and participate will get a free t-shirt and will be automatically entered into a raffle for a chance to win a new bike.

Bike to Work Day is held annually across the nation on the third Friday of May to celebrate bicycling as a fun, healthy and climate friendly way to get to work.

MCDOT will sponsor seven pit stops with refreshments, music and local vendor displays at varying times throughout the morning of May 19. There will be free raffle prizes and a grand prize raffle of a new bike at each of the MCDOT-sponsored pit stops. Residents biking to work, as well as leisure riders, are encouraged to participate.

In addition to the seven pit stops sponsored by MCDOT, there will be six Bike to Work Day pit stops in the County operated by other organizations.

“Today, we offer more bike paths, dedicated lanes, as well as opportunities to transport a bike on RideOn, MetroBus and Metrorail, than ever before,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Biking to your job or to run errands is a healthy form of transportation that does not produce pollution or add cars to the road. I encourage everyone to join us on Bike to Work Day and consider biking as a transportation alternative this summer.”

The Metropolitan Council of Government’s Commuter Connections, a network of transportation organizations in which MCDOT participates, and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) are the co-organizers of Washington Region’s Bike to Work Day event.

All participants should visit the Find Your Pit Stop Map to plan a route in advance.

MCDOT-sponsored pit stops will be at the following locations:
Other pitstops within Montgomery County will include:
"This is a great time for residents to get out and enjoy the County’s bikeway network," said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “We have over 100 miles of bike lanes, with over eight miles of protected bike lanes, and that network is growing. We will be bringing forward some dynamic bikeway plans for community input soon.”

Additional pit stops will be located throughout the Washington region. For more information and a full list of regional pitstops, or to register, visit

All riders are encouraged to wear a helmet.

March 24, 2023

Message from the County Executive

Dear Friends,

I want to recognize the first day of Ramadan and the start of the Persian New Year this week as well as the first day of Spring. For everyone celebrating or just looking forward to warmer weather I hope the new season brings you good health and happiness.

Over the last week, there has been a lot of discussion and media attention on the $6.8 billion operating budget that I sent to the Council last week. This budget is about choosing to maintain services and the social safety net that we created during the pandemic, while also providing record funding for education, affordable housing, public safety and combatting climate change.

Much of the attention has been focused on the proposed 10 cent property tax that would be used only for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).

The 10-cent property tax increase is in response to MCPS’ request for $300 million in additional funding over last year’s budget . While this funding request is an increase over last year’s funding, the vast majority of this funding is needed to recruit and retain outstanding teachers and other essential staff as well as address the increase in special education enrollment. If this were a programs-only budget that wasn’t focused on retaining teachers and keeping salaries competitive, I would have looked at their request very differently. But the fact is they need money. We have teachers leaving the profession, and we’re losing the ability to compete with surrounding jurisdictions. Our schools are suffering as a result. As the President of the Montgomery County Educational Association (MCEA), Jennifer Martin has pointed out, more than 1,100 teachers left MCPS last year and hundreds of positions remain unfilled. Teachers are leaving the classroom for better pay, less demanding and more respected work. The impact is larger classes and fewer people to meet the needs of students. The teachers still in the schools are burning out as they work to cover the vacant positions and the increased needs. The risk of teacher burnout rises with each unfilled job.

Pia Morrison, president of SEIU Local 500, which represents the paraeducators in the classrooms as well as the security staff, bus drivers and other essential school staff also talked about the problems with vacancies and low pay. She explained that when substitute positions for teachers are not filled, the support staff have to step in and on average 40 – 50 percent of those substitute positions are not being filled. That means that many of the students who need the one-on-one support go without the additional academic supporty they need, and special education students miss out on interventions that address their learning needs. Additionally, because MCPS support staff are less than full-time staff, she explained they routinely have to supplement their income with other jobs in order to support their own families, making it more difficult for them to help the students.

The measures of student performance are concerning. According to the results of the 2022 Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) test, only 31 percent of MCPS students scored proficient in math, and 53 percent scored proficient in English.

We have great schools, but we cannot afford to let them decline. In real dollars – adjusted for inflation - we are spending less per pupil than we did before. Our funding peaked 13 years ago – we’re spending $3,000 per pupil less than we did in 2010.

People want to live and work in our county in great part because of the high quality of our schools. We cannot disinvest in our schools – we need to invest in the schools and staff and that means additional resources.

My proposal to increase our investment is about our future—our children. We owe them the best we have to offer and the additional 10 cents that I am asking is an important step to make Montgomery County a leader in education once again, and this money is for education only. Teachers and other educational professionals are at the core of what we need to give our children the best education possible. We get the best when we invest in the people that are working with our kids every day.

On April 11, the County Council will begin public hearings on the budget. Information on how to testify is here. The Council will review my proposed budget and a final budget will be passed in May.

Like education systems across the nation, Montgomery County is dealing with the challenges that isolation and virtual learning wrought on students, but how we deal with it is up to us. Montgomery County's reputation as the best school system in Maryland won't survive on perception alone. It takes support and that's what my budget proposal offers.

98% increase in Antisemitic Semitic Incidents in Maryland

This week, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) published their annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents. Nationally, antisemitic incidents in 2022 surged to the highest levels ever recorded, with a total of 3,697 incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism reported to ADL. This represents an increase of 36 percent compared to 2021 – also a record setting year – an average of more than ten incidents per day.

Maryland saw a 98 percent increase in antisemitic incidents as 109 were reported in 2022, a 98 percent increase from the 55 incidents in 2021, and a 132 percent increase from the 47 incidents reported in 2020. Sadly, Maryland registered with the 10th highest number of antisemitic incidents reported in the country for 2022.

This week, I joined a panel discussion about combatting antisemitism with the Montgomery County Committee Against Hate/Violence. I expressed my frustration that antisemitism still exists in our society, let alone is worsening.

I also expressed my determination to speak out against anti-semitism at every opportunity. We know and understand that while the acts are targeting our Jewish community, they impact all our religious and minority communities. An attack on one faith community in Montgomery County is an attack on us all, and we stand together to embrace our diversity and celebrate our Jewish community.

For us to combat these incidents, we need everyone to report any of incident of hate that they may witness. We must also continue to unite, partner and collaborate. Jews are not facing acts of hatred alone. Many other religious and minority communities also have also dealt with hate-based incidents in our County recently.

And most importantly, we must educate to eradicate hate. We need to do more in our schools and our homes. We need to intentionally teach and talk about antisemitism and the history of oppression for the Jewish people and for other marginalized groups.

The numbers released by the ADL should be a cause of concern for everyone. We must do better. As a leader against antisemitism, I stand with my local Jewish community as an ally and commit to providing support, showing solidarity, and building a foundation for greater understanding and mutual respect for all.

Nearing the End of Current Maryland Legislative Session

This week was Crossover Day for Maryland state lawmakers. Legislation that has not been passed by one house and sent to the other by Crossover Day will not move forward this year. The last day of session is just three weeks away on April 10. I have been visiting the legislature regularly since the beginning of the session, and I have testified on a number of bills, including efforts by Maryland Health Care For All! to give access to health insurance to many more Marylanders, including low-income households (SB 26/HB 111), young adults (SB 601/HB 814), and immigrants (SB 365/HB 588), and to help the state continue to develop strategies to bring down the cost of expensive prescription drugs (HB 200 & HB 202/ SB 202/HB 279).

With a new governor and his administration in place I have seen bipartisan support for many of his and other measures this session. I hope that collaboration continues, and we finish this legislative session strong for the people of Montgomery County and the people of Maryland.

Business Trip to Taiwan

As you read this, I am on a plane heading to Taiwan for an international trip representing Montgomery County at the Smart City Summit & Expo.

Our focus of this trip is economic development. I’ll be joined by the Board Chair of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, the Chair of the Montgomery County Council’s Economic Committee, the County’s Chief Information Officer, and several business leaders representing our technology start-up community.

This trip is a wonderful opportunity for us to let others know that Montgomery County is a great place to live and do business.

Additionally, Taiwanese leaders want to hear about much we’ve accomplished with our Climate Action Plan. We’re also meeting with leaders from Taipei Medical University & National Taiwan University which host top-ranked Artificial Intelligence programs and I will be telling them about our exciting project in the North Bethesda the University of Maryland – Institute for Health Computing. We also will be meeting with dozens of Taiwanese business leaders who have expressed interest in potentially opening an East Coast office or lab or partnering with Montgomery County companies.

This is the first international economic trade mission that I will be taking since being County Executive. I am excited to promote this County and find potential opportunities and partnerships.

Tree Planting Milestone

Creating a greener County has been of my goals since becoming County Executive, but I know the effort to improve the environment began before that.

Earlier this month the Tree Montgomery program planted its 10,000th tree.

To mark the milestone, the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection staff celebrated a tremendously successful 9 years of the program with their tree planting contractor D. A. Dunlevy at the Lake Marion Community Center in Montgomery Village.

Shade trees help our environment in many ways. They are important to wildlife and the process of pollination. Trees soak up water runoff reducing the risk of flash flooding. They are also welcome on our County's many playgrounds, parking lots, and school yards. These beautiful trees also help us save energy in homes, offices, and schools.

I encourage everyone to visit the Tree Montgomery website to learn more about nominating somewhere in the County a tree should be added.

Community Health Update

This week we have very little to share about COVID-19 and as they say no news is good news. Our community level status remains ‘low.’ Our rate of infection is as low as we’ve seen in it in a calendar year and our hospitalization metrics have also come down significantly.

I encourage everyone to stay up to date with their bivalent booster shots—those are the ones that came out last September. If you haven’t gotten one since then make your appointment. The County is still taking appointments and is handling vaccine and booster clinics weekly. Montgomery County md dot gov slash covid 19 is still a resource to find vaccine appointments and stay up to date on the virus.

This Saturday our Department of Health and Human Services will partner with Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery Goes Purple to hold another event aimed at educating the public on the dangers of fentanyl and preventing drug overdoses.

Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville will host the forum, starting at 9 a.m. It will feature English and Spanish breakout sessions to help answer as many community questions as possible. Topics for the morning include starting substance use conversations, healthy boundaries vs. “Tough Love,” emergency response, and safety at home and at school. To attend in person or watch via live stream please follow this link to register.

As always, my appreciation for all of you,

Marc Elrich
County Executive