May 26, 2023

Message from the County Executive


Dear friends,

The budget process is over with a final vote from the County Council this week. I appreciate that the Council funded the vast majority of my recommended budget, including the pay for County workers. These include our school health nurses, Ride On bus drivers, social workers, firefighters, police officers and many other dedicated employees. I think everyone recognizes we are in a more competitive market.

However, there have been mischaracterizations I would like to address, and I want to put some actual information out for the public.

Despite statements to the contrary, this has not been the “most transparent” budget process ever at the Council. I served on the Council as an at-large member for 12 years. While there were some decisions made quickly at the end, those were additions, not subtractions from the budget—we were deciding what else could be added, and they represented a tiny portion of the budget, generally between $10 and $20 million.

I appreciate Councilmember Kristin Mink highlighting her concerns about transparency in the process. I also have concerns about how important decisions were made. The terms “high-priority” and “priority” implied that they were items likely to be funded, and yet, that is not what happened. Additionally, the “high-priority” list lost $23 million of items at the last minute without any public discussion after the Council had agreed in public that they were high priorities. It also was not clear that the $44 million for the schools that was on the “priority” list rather than the “high-priority” list would be cut. Or that anything on the “priority” list would likely NOT be funded, even though it was called a “priority.” The total amount of reductions of the “high-priority” and “priority” items totaled more than $70 million.

The final cuts were done in secrecy without a record of which Councilmember voted for or against any of those items. The public has a right to know how people vote, particularly when we are talking about such a large sum of money.

Some of the cuts are not real. They are items that will have to be funded. If the budget does not fund them now, they will come out of reserves at some point this year. For example, there is the Council’s last-minute budget cut of $9.6 million for increased fuel and utilities. We—like everywhere in the country—are facing inflationary cost increases. We must pay the increased costs for fuel and utilities. I do not think anyone wants us to turn out the lights, turn off the air conditioning and heating in rec centers and libraries or stop providing Ride On bus service because we are not paying for the fuel. We will pay these costs.

Other last-minute cuts to the high priority list include important quality of life items like funding for sidewalk repairs, lighting upgrades in urban areas like Silver Spring and Wheaton and rodent-proof trash and recycling bins in Bethesda and Silver Spring. Another cut from the high priority list included funding for overflow sheltering for the unhoused. Without these funds, we will have to decide whether to leave individuals out on the street or go into our reserves for the funding.

This budget also cut funding for small business support, support for climate change assistance intended for businesses and homeowners and reduced staffing that is needed to improve and speed up hiring. This is particularly ironic since the Council made an issue of our pace of hiring.

I want to make a point here about hiring. When we had vacancies during COVID-19, we did not fill all of them because we wanted to wait and see how and when we returned to work and what we would need at that point. We were being careful and intentional about not spending money that we knew would not benefit the County. We were being fiscally responsible and the money we did not spend on salaries shows up as additional money for reserves.

We have a vacancy problem that we are working to address while we are also working on various ways to use our existing positions better. Some Councilmembers made an issue of me not doing enough on restructuring, but during the three years of COVID, it was not possible—or appropriate—to take on restructuring. Since then, we have begun those efforts in some of our departments.

I want to make sure I also talk about funding for the schools and about the tax rate as compared to others in the State and the region. I proposed a 10-cent property tax increase to fund the schools’ unprecedented need.

After I sent my recommended budget to the Council, I spoke with individual Councilmembers and offered ways to reduce the tax by about 3 cents without doing any real harm to the needs of the schools and residents. Additionally, using the schools’ reserves—which the Council did, and I agreed with—would have brought the tax rate to 6 cents.

The final tax rate increase of 4.7 cents leaves us in a difficult situation next year for school funding. By State Maintenance of Effort requirements, we must provide at least the same amount of funding per pupil as we did in the prior year.

If I had done what they just did, I would have been attacked for creating a “structural deficit.” They have provided the schools with funding this year, but required them to use one-time funds to fill the gaps.

I have been accused of being “fiscally irresponsible,” but I am the one who has been transparent about what our needs are and how they can be funded. I have to explain and defend my actions while certain Councilmembers will attack and then support the same policies they criticized me for. And they made big decisions in private, out of public view. I own every decision I made in the budget.

To use terms that were used in Council session, that is “fiscally irresponsible” and puts the County in an “impossible situation.” Actually, I would not say “impossible.” That is ridiculous hyperbole. We have a difficult situation, and I am going to be honest about solutions and next steps.

We are allowed to have differences of opinions, but the conversations and votes need to be in public. And the constant attacks need to stop. I feel compelled to respond to them because of so much mischaracterization.

Some members of the Council attack the Superintendent of Schools and the Board of Education and then do not give them an opportunity to respond, even when they asked for permission to respond.

The school needs are real.

Our per pupil spending, when adjusted for inflation, has gone down since 2010. We are only spending 80 percent of what we used to spend on our schools. The difference in our spending is not just teacher salaries. It is also program levels and the staffing we support. This chart shows where we were in 2010 compared to today: almost $3,000 less per pupil.

We are known nationally for the quality of our schools, and that is because we invested in them. We were known for paying our teachers and other staff well and giving them the supports they needed. That requires investment to attract quality staff and to keep them. Other counties in Maryland now spend more than we do. This is a glance of a few counties.

I want to be clear that nothing has changed within MCPS from when I recommended a budget to now: schools still need the money that would have been collected had the 10-cent property tax increase been approved.

I knew that a 10-cent increase was a lot and I offered multiple times to work with the Council on ways to lower that number without jeopardizing the funding our students and residents need.

The money we will spend on schools this year versus last year is an increase of 8.5 percent, which is good. But how it was funded is not good for next year or the following years.

On the one hand, it funded salaries. On the other hand, it did not fund staffing needs and did not allow increases for inflation, which is a problem that everyone is all too familiar with. Whether it is food for school lunches, repairs and replacement of equipment or the rising costs of fuel for vehicles and building heating and cooling, those increases are real and should have been in the base budget. Additionally, they will increase lapses. Certain positions will go unfilled, which means that classes may find themselves without teachers when subs cannot be found. This is a real problem all schools will face because of these budget decisions. And they are shifting $30 million of operating expenses to ESSR? Elementary and Secondary School Relief funds are one-time sources and operating expenses are ongoing.

The budget approved this week by Council ignores record levels of reserves that could be used. Reserves can also be called a budget surplus. Our surplus is higher than the target of 10 percent that we set. Our administration is the first to achieve these targets. And last year we ended with 14 percent reserves. Additionally, the Council’s budget continues to expect taxpayers to foot the entire bill for retiree benefits, leaving untouched hundreds of millions of dollars in a reserve fund specifically intended to pay those costs.

I already noted that other counties in Maryland spend more per pupil than we do. So do the school districts in Northern Virginia.

Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria, Fairfax and Loudon counties all spend more per pupil than we do.

Fairfax collects a lot more money from their property tax—more than $3 billion—while we collect about $1.9 billion. They collect more than a billion dollars more than us and they are not much bigger than we are. Plus, Fairfax just lowered its property tax rate to 1.09 cents, which is still higher than what ours would have been with the 10-cent increase I proposed. My proposal would have brought us to almost 1.08 cents. The Council’s rate will be at 1.03 cents, significantly lower than Fairfax newly lowered rate.

Which leads me to talk about taxes and investment. We have to invest in our County—in our schools, neighborhoods, roads, transit and more. We need to continue to make it a great place to live, study and work.

If increasing the property tax is deemed too burdensome for residents, then we need to look elsewhere. Repeatedly, I have shown that our commercial properties are undertaxed as compared to Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia.

Both commercial property owners and homeowners are paying higher property taxes in Northern Virginia. At the same time, there are people who say that people do not want to come to Montgomery County because of high taxes. The reality is different.

I am happy to note that businesses are coming to Montgomery County and our unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in more than 20 years at 2.0 percent.

For two years I have advocated for measures to allow us to make our income tax more progressive. That would require the State to allow us to go higher than 3.2 percent for high earners so that we can reduce the burden on lower income without losing revenue. I have testified in support of that change for two years, but the Council—two different Councils—have not supported that effort.

I am willing to take difficult stands—asking our private sector to pay its fair share. Making our taxation more progressive, but changing the status quo, is not easy and it is not helped by nasty and inaccurate statements.

The fact is that our commercial taxes are the lowest in the region and the city and the counties with higher tax rates are better able to fund their budgets with less reliance on residents.

It is troubling to watch large commercial property owners talk about their concern for residents and property tax when, in reality, they are generally concerned about the impact on commercial property. They are willing to pay more in Virginia than they are here.

We are a big County, but we are not acting that way when it comes to investing in our schools. It remains our best asset and the biggest part of our County's reputation, which is a large part of why people want to come and raise their families here. For us to allow it to slip to the point where we are spending 80 percent of what we were spending in 2010 is a mistake and the Council just compounded the mistake.

I am thankful that more money will be going towards schools and that is a win. I am glad that 98 percent of my proposed budget remains intact, but I am disappointed by how we got here. Our communities deserve the best schools we can give them. Doing this half measure kicks the can down the road and sets us up for more challenges ahead.

We can handle that challenge, but going forward we have to be honest and transparent about the real issues and solutions.

Signing the Late-Night Business Safety Plan

I’m pleased to share with you that this week I signed the Late-Night Business Safety Plan bill that was passed by the County Council.

I want to thank the County Council for considering the idea that I introduced in February. Following amendments made by the Council, it will apply to Countywide to businesses that provide on-site consumption of tobacco, food, alcohol or cannabis and either: operate between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.; or operate between midnight and 2 a.m. and have been the subject of two or more service calls for law enforcement to respond to serious incidents during the prior 12 months. The serious incidents would include crimes identified in Executive regulations being developed by the Executive branch. 

Each business will be required to develop an emergency evacuation plan and provide 24-hour contact information of the business owner or manager. An acknowledgement that the business has received late night business training from the County, an acknowledgement that the business follows the law and a statement regarding any resolved or pending citations issues by a government entity within the prior three years are expected as well.  

These recommendations will be developed in collaboration with multiple County departments consistent with Executive regulations. Grant funding will be available for businesses to use in these security facility enhancements. 

My goal with this law was to hold businesses accountable for the disproportionate number of calls to police to handle situations at late-night establishments. This is not about punishing those businesses, but about making our community safer.

We want people to enjoy nightlife in Montgomery County. We want late night businesses to thrive. We also want to ensure safety as much as possible. These measures will help accomplish these goals.

Emphasis on Road Safety

The past week has been heartbreaking for all of us who care about keeping our streets safe for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. We have seen too many crashes all over our County result in serious injury and death. There is no throughline to these incidents—not one thing that we could change that would have prevented those four deaths over the past week. One thing I can emphasize, as AAA estimates more people in four years prepare to hit the road this Memorial Day weekend: the faster you are going, the longer it takes to stop.

AAA’s ‘100 Deadliest Days’ initiative is aimed at teen drivers. Teens with cars will be on the road more once school ends, but the lessons from the education program are universal:
  • Slow down
  • Stay off cell phones
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol before getting behind the wheel
All three are related when you consider speed is the No. 1 reason for crashes overall.

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation is urging drivers to be safe, be aware and be responsible. Last year, we saw 46 fatal crashes in the County, killing 50 people. That is nearly one a week. Of the 16 people killed on the roads this year, half are likely the result of drunk driving. The Montgomery County Police Department and allied local and State police departments will be on the roads with enhanced patrols and sobriety checkpoints to get impaired drivers off the road.

Our Vision Zero program understand the importance of slowing drivers down. Over the last few years, the speed limit has been lowered on dozens of neighborhood streets across the County. This map shows you where the speed limits have been dropped.

Sometimes even bigger roads connecting home to work like Montrose Road and Sam Eig Highway need lower speed limits as well. The State Highway Administration also recently lowered speeds on roads throughout the County, like Veirs Mill Road, Georgia Avenue, Great Seneca Highway and New Hampshire Avenue.

The idea is to slow drivers down and give them more time to react to hazards and other drivers on the road. We are trying to prevent losing friends and family on the roads. We want to eliminate serious and fatal collisions on County by the year 2030. I encourage you to learn more about our plan by clicking here to be taken to the latest Vision Zero Action Plan and Report.

Please have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. If you are headed to the parade in Rockville on Monday, I will see you there.

As always, my appreciation for all of you,

Marc Elrich
County Executive

May 25, 2023

Recreation Outdoor Pools to Open Memorial Day Weekend

Recreation Outdoor Pools to Open Memorial Day Weekend

Montgomery County Recreation’s seven outdoor pools will begin the summer season at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 27.

The seven pools that will be open are:
  • Bethesda Outdoor Pool, 301-652-1598, 6300 Hillandale Road, Bethesda
  • Germantown Outdoor Pool, 240-777-8067, 18905 Kingsview Road, Germantown
  • Long Branch Outdoor Pool, 240-777-6859, 8700 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring
  • Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Outdoor Pool, 240-777-8066, 1201 Jackson Road, Silver Spring
  • Sarah E. Auer Western County Outdoor Pool, 301-349-2217, 20151 Fisher Avenue, Poolesville
  • Sergeant Hector I. Ayala Wheaton/Glenmont Outdoor Pool, 301-929-5460, 12621 Dalewood Drive, Wheaton
  • Upper County Outdoor Pool, 301-840-2446, 8211 Emory Grove Road, Gaithersburg
During the preseason, May 27 – June 16, outdoor pool hours are 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 3-6 p.m. on weekends and Memorial Day.

During the summer season, June 17-Aug. 13, outdoor pool hours are 1-4 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. on weekdays and noon-3 p.m. and 4- 7 p.m. on weekends.

The Upper County Pool is closed on Fridays during the summer season. For more information about pool hours, including holiday and post-season hours, visit the website.

General pool admission is $15. Residents of Montgomery County receive a discount with proof of residency. Daily admission is $5 for County residents ages 1-17, $7 for adults and $6 for seniors (age 55 and older). Summer pool passes are available for purchase and are valid from May 27-Sept. 4.

As the summer season gets underway, residents are encouraged to become familiar with the safety rules posted at the pools. Children are most at risk for water-related accidents and it is important they are always closely supervised while in and around the pool. Because safety is a priority, it may be necessary to temporarily halt admission to pools when capacity is reached. Additional swimmers will be admitted as soon as space becomes available.

Pool visitors are allowed to bring food and drink to the pools as long as they follow the rules and regulations, including no glass, no barbecues and no alcohol. All coolers will be inspected.

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

County Holiday Schedule for Memorial Day on Monday, May 29

County Holiday Schedule for Memorial Day on Monday, May 29

The Montgomery County Government, and programs that impact County residents, will have schedule and program changes for Memorial Day on Monday, May 29.
  • County offices—Closed.
  • MC 311—Closed.
  • State offices and courts—Closed.
  • State Motor Vehicle Administration offices and Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program stations—Closed.
  • Libraries— Closed Sunday, May 28, and Monday, May 29.
  • Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS)—All stores open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • County-operated COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Clinics—Closed. (The County no longer is operating PCR testing clinics.) Vaccine clinics will be closed on May 29.
  • Department of Permitting Services—All offices, including the customer service lobby, will be closed.
  • Ride On — Will operate a Sunday schedule.
  • Ride On extRa and Ride On Flex will not operate.
  • Flash—Orange Line will operate on a Weekend and Holiday schedule. The Blue Line will not operate.
  • Ride On Transit Services—All schedules can be found at Routes and Schedules - Ride On - Transit Services - Montgomery County, Maryland (
  • MARC Train—No service on Monday.
  • TRiPS Silver Spring commuter store—Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store—Closed.
  • Metrorail—Will operate on Sunday schedule with trains running from 5 a.m.-midnight. See
  • Metrobus—Will operate on Sunday schedule. See
  • Public Parking Garages, Lots, Curbside Meters—Free.
  • County-provided trash and recycling collections are postponed on Monday. Collections will slide one day later than usual throughout the week, with the last pickup on Saturday, June 3.
  • The Shady Grove Transfer Station and Recycling Center—Closed.
  • Aquatic Centers— County outdoor aquatic facilities will be open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 3-6 p.m. Indoor aquatic facilities will close at 6 p.m.
  • Community Recreation Centers—Closed.
  • Senior Centers—Closed.
Montgomery Parks—Visit for complete information. Additional information:

Open Parkways Schedule. Will be extended during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. During this time, parkways are open to pedestrians and bicyclists and closed to motor vehicles. Beach Drive between Connecticut and Knowles Avenue (2.9 miles): Saturday, May 27, at 7 a.m. until Tuesday, May 30, at 7 a.m. Sligo Creek Parkway between Old Carroll Avenue and Piney Branch Road and between Forest Glen Road and University Boulevard West: Friday, May 26, at 9 a.m. until Tuesday, May 30, at 7 a.m. Little Falls Parkway: between Arlington Road and Dorset Avenue (0.4 miles): Open 24/7 for recreation and exercise.

Facilities open Memorial Day Weekend will include:
The following facilities will be closed on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29:
  • Montgomery Parks Headquarters and Permits offices.
  • Montgomery Parks Customer Service office.
  • Pauline Betz Addie  and Wheaton Indoor tennis centers.
  • Cabin John Ice Rink and Wheaton Ice Arena
  • Indoor nature facilities including Brookside Nature Center, Locust Grove Nature Center, Black Hill Visitor Center/Nature Programs. Trails and outdoor nature play areas remain open sunrise to sunset.  Meadowside Nature Center is undergoing building and meadow renovations. However, programs are continuing through the project. Trails and nature play areas remain open sunrise to sunset.

Scotland Juneteenth Festival Organizer LaTisha Gasaway-Paul Will Discuss Struggles and Triumphs of County’s Original African American Settlements on Wednesday, May 31

Scotland Juneteenth Festival Organizer LaTisha Gasaway-Paul Will Discuss Struggles and Triumphs of County’s Original African American Settlements on Wednesday, May 31

Scotland Juneteenth Heritage Festival Chair LaTisha Gasaway-Paul will discuss the triumphs of that historic community, the challenges residents face in the present and their hopes for the future at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 31, in a Zoom presentation that is part of the Montgomery Parks Speaker Series.

Scotland is Montgomery County’s first African American owned community. The upcoming Juneteenth Federal holiday will be celebrated on Monday, June 19.

The session will be held online. Registration is available via the May speaker series online form. A zoom link will be sent to registrants the day before the session.

Ms. Gasaway Paul is a fifth-generation resident of Scotland, the Potomac neighborhood that is the first community where African Americans owned land in Montgomery County.

She is working to preserve Scotland's history and ensure its survival. Along the way, she is working to develop the Scotland Juneteenth Heritage Festival into one of the premiere Juneteenth celebrations in the Washington area and enlisting an interfaith community to help preserve African American history.

“Montgomery Parks is proud to co-sponsor the Scotland Juneteenth Heritage Festival at Cabin John Regional Park,” said Mike Riley, director of Montgomery Parks. “We are honored to be part of this important event and to support this community. It’s sure to be a great event with a community service opportunity, kids’ carnival, and food that will provide fun for everyone on the holiday.”

Scotland Festival events will be held June 15-19 at several different locations. Visit the Scotland Juneteenth Heritage Festival website for complete details.

Redland Middle School Named Winner of Montgomery County’s ‘Paint the Plow’ Contest to Celebrate Public Works Week

Redland Middle School Named Winner of Montgomery County’s ‘Paint the Plow’ Contest to Celebrate Public Works Week

Montgomery County residents can be on the lookout this winter for tributes to the County’s public works employees. As part of the recently concluded “Public Works Week,” Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) middle school students participated in a “Paint the Plow” contest to celebrate the many contributions made by public works employees that keep the County running.

Redland Middle School in Derwood was selected as the first-place winner of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOTs) ‘Paint the Plow’ snowplow naming contest. The winning design emulated the popular Pokémon franchise with the theme “Snowkémon” and the slogan “Gotta Melt It All.”

“This contest is a great way to bring public attention to the enormous amount of work our public works employees do to keep the County’s infrastructure functional and safe,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “I want to thank MCPS and the participating students and teachers for their efforts to help us celebrate Public Works Week and for bringing art to our streets. Our residents will greatly enjoy looking out for these plows during snowstorms.”

Students from 11 MCPS middle schools participated in the contest. Snowplows and paint supplies were delivered by MCDOT to each school and the student teams had four days to name and decorate their snowplows.

A team from Westland Middle School in Bethesda was the second-place winner with its decorated snowplow “Plowser,” a play off Mario Brothers. A team from John Poole Middle School in Poolesville was the third-place winner for its decorated plow “Winter Warrior,” which showcased a beautifully painted anime theme.

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

The winners were named as MCDOT celebrated “Public Works Week” to honor essential workers. During the special week, MCDOT recognizes the employees of its Division of Highway Services with an employee-centered social media campaign and the Paint the Plow contest. Entries to the contest were showcased at MCDOT’s family-friendly ‘Truck Day’ event held on May 20. The free event had more than 1,000 attendees who were invited to vote for their favorite snowplow design.

The winners selected:
  • First place (awarded $500): Redland Middle School for its decorated snowplow named “Snowkémon.”
  • Second place (awarded $300): Westland Middle School for its decorated snowplow named “Plowser.”
  • Third place (awarded $200): John Poole Middle School for its decorated snowplow named “Winter Warrior.”
The decorated plows will be pushing snow off County streets this winter. The painted plows will serve as an interesting and valuable reminder of the MCDOT public workers who keep the County running.

“I am once again deeply impressed with the creativity and talent of our MCPS middle school students,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “These plows will serve as a reminder of the tremendous contributions our public works employees make to creating a safe community.”

“Public Works Week” is a nationally recognized week in May to honor essential workers. The American Public Works Association selected "Connecting the World" as the theme for the 2023 National Public Works Week. The theme emphasizes that public works employees are always ready to serve their communities and are resilient despite encountering challenges. “Public Works Week” runs May 21-27.

Pictures of the painted plows can be viewed on the MCDOT “Paint the Plow” page or on the social media platforms listed below.

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

‘Love is Blooming:’ Animal Services and Adoption Center and FMCA Fee-Waived Adoption Event for All Dogs Continues Through Sunday, May 28

Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC) will continue its fee-waived adoption event for all dogs through Sunday, May 28. The “Love is Blooming” adoption event is sponsored by Friends of Montgomery County Animals (FMCA).

The Animal Services and Adoption Center is located at 7315 Muncaster Mill Rd. in Derwood. The shelter is currently filled with dogs looking for good homes.

“Spring is a great time to adopt a dog,” said Adoption Supervisor Faith Koleszar. “We hope this May promotion will encourage those considering adoption to grow their family by adopting a dog from MCASAC.”

Adopting a dog is easy at MCASAC—and even easier during the “Love is Blooming” event with no adoption fees.

The adoption process can be started online by filling out the adoption questionnaire and sending required documents via email. Adopters may also choose to visit the adoption center during open hours to start the process in-person. More information about the adoption process can be found at

Adoptions are first-come, first-served by appointment. Adopters should be prepared to take an animal home at the end of their appointment. Walk-in appointments are subject to counselor availability.

MCASAC is operated by the County’s Office of Animal Services. It provides high standard sheltering and care to the homeless, abused and neglected animals. It is the County’s only open-admission, municipal shelter.

Through adoptions, education and outreach, MCASAC serves as a critical community resource to promote and advocate for responsible pet care. Animal Services officers are available seven days a week, 24 hours each day, to investigate complaints and respond to animal emergencies.

For more information on MCASAC, visit

Commission on Veterans Affairs Honors County’s Fallen Heroes from Military Action Dating Back to World War I with Online Tributes as Memorial Day Approaches

The Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs is honoring many “Fallen Hometown Heroes” with Montgomery County connections on a website created by the Commission. The tribute is especially notable as the County prepares to commemorate Memorial Day on Monday, May 29.

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

“The Commission on Veterans Affairs solemnly remembers the County’s fallen service members who have died in service to our country since World War I,” said Wayne Miller, a Vietnam veteran who now chairs the County Commission on Veterans Affairs. “The Fallen Hometown Heroes website pays tribute to County hometown heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice We are eternally thankful for those who gave their lives in defense of the United States of America. May their bravery and devotion not be forgotten.”

Earlier this year, a plaque was unveiled at the Rockville Memorial Library, recognizing the name change from the original Rockville Library. The name change was instituted in 2010 at the request of Gold Star families—those who have lost a family member in U.S. military conflicts—and the County’s Commission on Veterans Affairs. The plaque is in the first-floor lobby, next to a digital display honoring the County's Fallen Hometown Heroes. The Fallen Hometown Heroes digital display honor residents killed in action dating to World War I.

“Memorial Day is a special day for honoring the men and women who lost their lives while defending our nation,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “We recognize the sacrifice they and their families have made. And we will never forget. I encourage all residents to explore this website and learn about our hometown heroes.”

Anyone can share the story of a friend or family member by completing a Google form or a PDF form. Be prepared to provide the following information:
  • Service member or veteran's name
  • Name of person submitting information and relationship to the individual
  • Branch of service and rank
  • Years of service
  • When the service member served (WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Global War on Terror or peacetime/other)
  • Brief narrative about 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)
Email to learn more about the tribute program.

Visit the Commission on Veterans Affairs website for more information about their work.

Winners Honored in 24th Annual Recycling Achievement Awards

Winners Honored in 24th Annual Recycling Achievement Awards

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich celebrated the 24th Annual Recycling Awareness Week by honoring recipients of the County’s Recycling Achievement Awards for outstanding achievements in waste reduction, reuse and recycling. The ceremonies, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, recognized individuals, multi-family properties, businesses, organizations and government facilities.

Recycling Awareness Week is a designated week each year during which the County highlights and showcases the achievements of our community and honors them for their efforts to help the County reach its goals of reducing waste and recycling more, aiming for Zero Waste.

“Since 1999, Montgomery County has celebrated its own Recycling Awareness Week by highlighting the hard work and commitment by our businesses, government agencies, multi-family properties, and individuals,” said County Executive Elrich. “Each year, the list of awardees includes more recipients who recognize the importance of reducing waste and recycling more. I am thankful for today’s awardees who are taking action to help us achieve our goals as we aim for Zero Waste.”

A summary of the 2023 recycling achievement award winners:

Multi-Family - Outstanding Efforts in Waste Reduction and Recycling. Awarded to multi-family properties that have undertaken exemplary efforts to develop, expand, or enhance their waste reduction and recycling programs. For this and all of the following award categories, information obtained is based upon interactions with DEP/Waste Reduction and Recycling staff.
  • Asbury Methodist Village. Asbury Methodist Village exhibits excellent communication when it comes to recycling and educating residents about the do's and don'ts of recycling so that residents recycle right. Multiple resident councils within Asbury Methodist Village coordinate and host waste reduction and recycling presentations to increase resident awareness of recycling and how to recycle right at Asbury Methodist Village. In addition, Asbury has implemented a voluntary food scraps recycling program to minimize the amount of waste disposed in their waste stream. In 2022, Asbury Methodist Village recycled 253,833 pounds of food scraps!
  • Blair House. Blair House has multiple green initiatives to increase recycling and reduce waste while aiming for Zero Waste. Among these initiatives are recycling of carpet, electronics, clothing and food scraps. In 2022, Blair House recycled more than 20,000 pounds of voluntary materials. In 2022, Blair House achieved a recycling rate of 73.5 percent.
  • Claridge House. At Claridge House, educational materials on recycling right are distributed directly to residents and posted throughout the community to increase awareness of the property’s on-site recycling program. For example, the recycling collection area in the garage level of the building has a separate recycling container for voluntary items such as fluorescent light bulbs, ink and toner cartridges and batteries, in addition to recycling containers for the required recyclable materials. In 2022, residents of Claridge House recycled almost 90 pounds of fluorescent light bulbs, batteries and ink cartridges. Residents are encouraged to donate unwanted items to further reduce the amount of waste generated on-site.
  • Churchill Senior Living. Churchill Senior Living is committed to recycling and offers its residents plenty of opportunities to recycle with a great capacity for collection services and accessibility at their collection sites. The property continuously recycles more than 50 percent of its waste year after year. In 2022, Churchill Senior Living continued this level of excellence by recycling almost 61 percent of its waste stream. The staff at Churchill Senior Living ensures that all recycling containers and trash chutes are well labeled and accompanied with posters resulting in recyclable materials that are contamination-free.
  • The Colonnade at Kentlands. The staff at Colonnade at Kentlands ensures that all recycling containers are clean and well labeled, resulting in clean recyclable materials with no contamination. As part of the property’s continued recycling education for residents, management routinely provides updated recycling container labels, brochures, flyers and posters to keep everyone informed about the property’s recycling program. Providing updated information and ensuring that residents have in-unit recycling bins increases their efforts to recycle more and recycle right. In 2022, the Colonnade at Kentlands recycled about 78 percent of its waste stream.
  • Georgetown Village Condominium. The Board of Directors and property manager at Georgetown Village Condominium have demonstrated that it is possible to have a successful recycling program for a large multi-family community. In each of its 19 buildings, the property has clean and organized recycling collection areas with containers for residents to recycle plastic bags, batteries and the required recyclable materials. Informational notices about recycling are posted on bulletin boards that are located above mailboxes at each building and articles about recycling are included in the community newsletter. As needed, calls and notices are sent directly to residents who can be identified for not putting trash and recyclable material in the proper containers or for not breaking down cardboard boxes.
  • Grosvenor Park II Condominium. Grosvenor Park II Condominium is on its fourth edition of “Easy Ways to Recycle at Grosvenor Park II Condominium” which is a small guide that is updated and distributed annually that describes the types of materials that can be placed in the property’s on-site recycling containers and local retail locations that accept items such as eyeglasses and cellphones. To increase resident awareness and participation, the community hosts recycling outreach events in the lobby to encourage residents to recycle right. The social programs committee members also place door hangers on the doorknobs of 422 dwelling units before the holiday season to promote and encourage recycling during the busy holiday season. Recycling collection containers are also placed in the parking garage to collect fluorescent light bulbs. In 2022, residents recycled 528 pounds of fluorescent light bulbs Through these efforts, the property’s recycling rate increased from 14.3 percent in 2020 to 53.5 percent in 2022.
  • Mica Condominium at Silver Spring Metro. Mica Condominium understands that recycling participation increases with accessibility and awareness. A sign posted in the building’s elevator includes a QR code that leads residents to an extensive list of organizations that accept a wide variety of materials for repurpose or reuse. The property also hosted a “swap meet” event for Earth Month to give residents the opportunity to trade gently used items with each other. This has led to an increase in waste reduction efforts at the property. In addition to reducing waste, the recycling collection area includes a recycling container for residents to recycle food scraps. Residents diverted more than7,500 pounds of food scraps from disposal in 2022.
  • Victory Crossing. The trash rooms at Victory Crossing have recycling flyers translated into Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Mandarin and Amharic. This has greatly improved the accessibility of recycling information to residents. During the quarterly resident’s management meeting, a block of time is dedicated to reminding residents how to recycle right. Monthly newsletters are another tool to increase recycling education, along with the periodic notices displayed on the property’s digital information screen located at the entrance of the building.
Multi-Family Property—Green Team Committee of the Year. Awarded to a Multi-Family Green Team that made a positive difference in its multi-family community to keep Montgomery County clean, green and beautiful. This group has gone above and beyond the efforts of others to maintain the quality of life in their multi-family communities, working diligently to engage others to actively participate in waste reduction, reuse and recycling efforts. The team serves as examples for others to emulate.
  • The Green Team of Ingleside at King Farm. Residents at Ingleside at King Farm have their own Green Team, which is very active. The Green Team has regular recycling educational meetings to educate residents and staff about reducing waste, recycling more and composting initiatives. In addition, the Green Team designed its own creative visuals for the trash and recycling rooms to effectively educate their neighbors about what can and cannot be recycled.
Business - Outstanding Efforts in Waste Reduction and Recycling. Awarded to businesses that have undertaken exemplary efforts to develop, expand, or enhance waste reduction and recycling programs to reduce waste and recycle more, aiming for Zero Waste.
  • Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services. The Alcohol Beverage Services Department (ABS) of Montgomery County, Maryland has shown an outstanding commitment to recycling and waste diversion throughout the department’s operations. In 2022, with ABS leadership buy-in and support, the department formed a green team to audit trash and recycling efforts and develop a long- and short-term waste diversion plan. Working closely with staff from the Recycling and Resource Management Division of the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of General Services, ABS green team members replaced broken trash and recycling equipment to reduce on-site litter, set up four additional recycling stations in the warehouse and administrative offices, increased recycling collection frequencies, expanded recycling of electronics and provided multiple recycling education events and a litter clean-up day for staff. As a result, ABS successfully diverted an additional 3,754 tons commingled materials, 2.73 tons of scrap metal and 393 pounds of electronics in just one year. Furthermore, to reduce waste, ABS reuses boxes and works closely with suppliers to take back materials and products for reuse, such as shipping pallets and whiskey and wine barrels. ABS’s commitment to recycling and reducing waste demonstrates Montgomery County’s efforts to walk the talk, for cleaner land, air and water.
  • Peter Brokt, The Colourist Salon. According to some sources, it is estimated that the beauty industry generates almost 900 pounds of waste every minute. The Green Circle Salons, founded in 2009, created a certification program to empower salons to offset their emissions and recover up to 95 percent of beauty waste. The Colourist Salon, located in Rockville, was the first Green Circle-certified salon in Montgomery County and the State of Maryland. Founded by owner Peter Brokt, the salon recycles hard-to-recycle items such as hair clippings, foils, excess hair color and plastic color tubes. The Colourist Salon is a leader in the beauty industry and the sustainable beauty movement.
  • Girls on the Run Montgomery County. Girls on the Run Montgomery County implements fun, evidence-based programs that inspire girls to build confidence, kindness and decision-making skills. Each year in the spring and fall, Girls on the Run holds its 5K run for program participants. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Leanne Till, event director for Girls on the Run Montgomery County, sought to make its 5K events Zero-Waste events. While the races were transitioned online during the first year of COVID-19, Ms. Till used that time to brainstorm ideas and worked directly with the organization’s partners who sponsor the event and donate food, beverages and materials. Girls on the Run rethought how it ordered spirit wear, giveaways and race materials. The result was a switch to either compostable or recyclable items provided to participants during the race, setup of recycling and food scraps recycling stations throughout the course and ordering items such as t-shirts based on enrollment numbers and not simply projections, reducing the amounts of extras. Girls on the Run was able to host the first-ever Zero Waste 5K in its history, nationwide, in 2022.
  • Global Communities. At its core, Global Communities is dedicated to sustainability. Through their actions, it strives to ensure a prosperous and equitable environment for struggling communities across the world, including in downtown Silver Spring. Global Communities has redirected a great deal of its waste to recycling. It partners with local organizations to collect and recycle food scraps, plastic film and electronics, and encourages employees to recycle as much of these materials as possible. It is dedicated to education and environmentalism and is excited to grow its programs.
  • The Heights School. Reducing waste in a school can be a challenge, but the faculty and students at The Heights School do an extraordinary job with their waste reduction and recycling efforts. Its recycling rate is above 75 percent year after year. Examples of their waste reduction and recycling efforts: students on sports teams clean out team buses and recycle appropriate materials while the theatre department builds sets reusing materials from old sets and uses scrap lumber and hardware as much as possible. Teachers are known to repair damaged textbooks to reduce the need to purchase new textbooks and will mix coffee grounds from the faculty lounge into the soil of the vegetable garden, which is maintained by seventh grade students. The school also has an onsite compost bin for yard trim materials from its garden.
  • Nordstrom Rack. Nordstrom’s BeautyCycle is an innovative take-back and recycling program that accepts all brands of beauty packaging materials to be recycled into new products. Regardless of whether the beauty product was purchased at Nordstrom or another retailer, customers can bring empty makeup, hair care and skin care containers to a local Nordstrom store and place them in a BeautyCycle box for recycling. Nordstrom sends the materials to its recycling partner where the materials are cleaned and separated into metals, glass and plastics. Those materials are then recycled into new products.
  • REGENXBIO. REGENXBIO, a biotech company located in Rockville, generates a significant amount of waste throughout the research and development process and manufacturing operations. To minimize the amount of waste disposed in the waste stream, medical waste from its research and development process and manufacturing operations are collected and recycled into alternative plastic lumber used for retaining walls, decks, piers and shipping pallets. In 2022, REGENXBIO diverted more than 35,000 pounds of medical lab waste and electronics for recycling.
  • William F. Bolger Center. The Bolger Center demonstrates its steadfast commitment to protecting the environment and goes above and beyond with its recycling efforts. Surrounded by 43 acres of managed grounds, the management team of this historic hotel and conference center are committed to sustainability and environmental stewardship. In addition to recycling the required recyclable materials, the Bolger Center recycles mixed batteries, cooking oil, motor oil, plastic film, light bulbs, and tires. Food scraps are also now recycled through the Commercial Food Scraps Recycling Partnership Program. Joel Flores, the ground supervisor for the property, organizes annual Earth Day and Arbor Day events to increase awareness of waste reduction and recycling programs for both staff and visitors.
Business - Waste Reduction and Recycling Champion Awards. Awarded to individuals who made a positive difference in their workplace to keep land, air, and water clean. These individuals go above and beyond the efforts of others to maintain a healthy environment in their workplace, working diligently to engage others to actively participate in their waste reduction and recycling efforts. These individuals serve as examples for others to emulate.
  • Oscar Caceres, Red Coats, Inc. Participation and accuracy by the janitorial service company in any building is crucial to the success of waste reduction and recycling programs. Oscar Caceres, regional manager of Red Coats, Inc., was instrumental in organizing nearly 100 percent of his janitorial staff to be trained on proper handling and separation of waste and recycling at 15 properties in Montgomery County. Mr. Caceres ensured the successful training of almost 300 Red Coats’ janitorial and cleaning staff. He coordinated training to be provided in both English and Spanish to reach the largest number of employees and to ensure the highest level of understanding.
  • Debra Low, Bethesda Place. Debra Low is responsible for the management of mixed-use multi-family and commercial properties at Bethesda Place. Ms. Low is an enthusiastic supporter of recycling and is always looking for new ways to share information about recycling with her commercial tenants and multi-family residents. She ensures everyone is aware of the County’s recycling requirements and promotes programs and services to maximize recycling and increase waste diversion efforts. For example, Ms. Low coordinated a coat drive in which residents donated their gently used coats and winter wear to be repurposed and distributed to residents in need. Under her management, Bethesda Place recycled approximately 2,850 pounds of fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs, keeping these items out of the waste stream.
  • Karen E. Mendez, Rolling Terrace Elementary School. Karen Mendez is a third grade teacher at Rolling Terrace Elementary School. She has experienced her fair share of environmental disasters and has dedicated herself to making positive change. Ms. Mendez strives to offer opportunities for her students to consider how their actions may affect the environment. During more than 20 years at Rolling Terrace, she has organized annual stream clean-ups and the popular Green Kids Club to draw attention to environmental issues and teach students about choices. She shares her dedication to environmentalism with her students through different ways to reduce, reuse and recycle in school and at home. She organizes recycling demonstrations for her students, encourages and motivates staff, faculty and students to recycle right and finds ways to reduce single-use items in her classroom.
Commercial Recycling Partnerships. DEP’s Recycling and Resource Management Division- Waste Reduction and Recycling Section recognizes the contributions of commercial food scraps recycling partners to increase recycling achievement by separating pre-consumer food scraps from the waste stream and recycling them through the commercial food scraps recycling partnership program. The following businesses, organizations and government facilities joined the Commercial Food Scraps Recycling Partnership Program in 2022 and 2023.
  • Clifton Park Baptist Church
  • Columbia Country Club
  • Hughes Network Systems
  • Ingleside at King Farm
  • Montgomery College – Germantown Campus
  • Montgomery College – Rockville Campus
  • The 4 Corners Pub
  • Washington Waldorf School
  • William F. Bolger Center

Washington Folk Festival Will Return to Glen Echo Park for Its 41st Year with Free Performances on June 3-4

Washington Folk Festival Will Return to Glen Echo Park for Its 41st Year with Free Performances on June 3-4

The Washington Folk Festival, in its 41st year, will return to Glen Echo Park on Saturday-Sunday, June 3-4, with free performances each day from noon-7 p.m. The festival will host more than 450 performances on seven stages.

Glen Echo Park is located at 7300 MacArthur Blvd. in Glen Echo. 

The festival annual features music of all kinds, participatory dance, a fine crafts market and storytelling. The festival celebrates the diverse American and international music styles to be found throughout the Washington area among the local and talented performers.

The festival features a picnic area and the park has its famed carousel. The festival will take place rain or shine. There will be complimentary transportation and parking from the Waverly parking lot located at 7400 Waverly St. in Downtown Bethesda. The shuttle service is one block from the Bethesda Metro Station on the Red Line.

The Washington Folk Festival is co-produced by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington and the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the National Park Service. The Washington Folk Festival is made possible by support from the Maryland State Arts Council, WOWD-LP, the festival’s official media sponsor and Bluegrass Country

For more information of the festival, go to