June 30, 2023

Message from the County Executive

Dear Friends,

This has been a bad week at the Supreme Court. Three different decisions have attacked the fundamental principles of justice, fairness and equity. It is breathtaking how quickly the extremist majority on the Court is taking away rights we often didn’t realize were in jeopardy.

The decision prohibiting using race as a consideration of college admission destroys an important part of efforts to erase long-term inequalities that stem from a legacy of racism in our country. Undoing this discrimination, which was consciously and deliberately imposed on the Black population, required and still requires deliberate action and that was the point of affirmative action.

We know that from this country’s inception Black people growing up in this country have not had equal access to education, job opportunities, homeownership and more. In my own lifetime, I have certainly witnessed the unfair treatment and consequences. It is outrageous for the Supreme Court to pretend that all the inequality and its effects have all been solved.

A second decision has reinforced and supported discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, a disturbing and ironic occurrence on the last day of our celebrating June as Pride month. As Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, “The immediate, symbolic effect of the decision is to mark gays and lesbians for second-class status.”

A third ruling has left millions of young adults who have survived the pandemic and inflation facing unnecessary financial hardship from enormous student loans.

These decisions by the Supreme Court do not reflect the sentiments and sensibilities of Montgomery County residents. Unfortunately, the reality is that the Court’s decisions will have ramifications on the lives of Montgomery County residents, businesses, students, and educational institutions and will be felt for generations.

We will continue to seek and provide opportunities for individuals and groups who have been historically and systemically disadvantaged. This makes all of us better. I am reminded by these terrible decisions how fortunate I am to be County Executive of a County where residents value and embrace our diversity and fight for justice and equality.

Recreational Cannabis Legalization

Starting July 1, the State law pertaining to cannabis use in the Maryland will be changing. Some existing medical marijuana dispensaries have received approval from the State to convert to sell marijuana recreationally beginning on Saturday.

We want everyone to be aware of what will be legal and what is not allowed. The rules around cannabis are specific and nuanced. It is going to take a deliberate effort for everyone to understand the parameters around its use. Here is a link to a state-issued FAQ developed by the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA).

In coordination with the MCA, we are embarking on a comprehensive public education campaign that will continue for the next several months. Even though the sale and use of marijuana will be legal for adults over 21, there are still laws in place restricting smoking in public, prohibiting driving under the influence of marijuana and other activities. The quantities of marijuana an individual can purchase are limited to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flower, 12 grams of concentrated cannabis, or a total amount of edible cannabis products that does not exceed 750 mg THC. And each household may only cultivate a maximum of two plants per home, no matter how many adults live in the residence.

We are still awaiting further details from the State about the distribution process moving forward, the awarding of licenses to distribute, and how we can regulate on-site consumption licenses.

We anticipate that legalization may lead to some complaints about neighbors or people smoking in public.

So, who should you call to complain about the smell of cannabis?

If you rent you should contact your landlord, then the Department of Housing and Community Affairs. Homeowners who have complaints about the smell of marijuana from neighbors, should go directly to DHCA and you can reach them via 311.

Please do not call 911 for these types of concerns. The 911 number is for emergencies.

This is new territory for us, and I want to be clear: even though adults have the right to use marijuana, there are important restrictions, including regarding children.

I do not want cannabis dispensaries to aggressively advertise and market their products. We need to prevent predatory advertising aimed at children. We do not want to go down the road of tobacco and alcohol marketing where large companies prioritized profits over the health of our communities. We do not want promotion of marijuana to follow the pattern of what happened with cigarettes and alcohol where the use of those substances was glamorized and encouraged.

I have long supported the legalization of marijuana. Prohibition of marijuana has led to racial disparities in our justice system with Black people more than three and a half times more likely to be locked up because of marijuana use than White people, even though usage rates have been similar. One of the great tragedies is that the criminal record acquired for possessing marijuana, became the basis for denying access to work and educational opportunities. In effect it created a lifetime penalty and profoundly impacted a person’s ability to find work and/or housing.

I saw firsthand that when White teens were caught with marijuana. Teachers, or even police, would confiscate it, but they were not arrested for possession, and it never went on anybody’s record. However, I was all too aware that Blacks teens were often treated differently if they were caught. This inequity in enforcing the law existed 50 years ago and still exists to this day.

I talked about this issue and several others during a live TV interview this week, which you can see here. Please remember cannabis should be used legally, responsibly and within the possession limits established by state law.

For more information on adult-use cannabis, visit the Maryland Cannabis Administration website at mmcc.maryland.gov.

Rent Stabilization Compromise

This week brought a compromise from the County Council on rent stabilization measures. Two competing measures were introduced at the same time earlier this year. I am willing to support the amended bill that came out of committee. Providing renters legal protections against rent gouging is urgently needed as we are hearing about huge rent increases throughout the County.

The compromise would limit rent hikes to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 3 percent and capped at 6 percent.

Rent prices have continued to rise. In the Washington area, they rose 5.8 percent from a year ago while overall inflation for a comparable time was 3.1 percent. Nationally, rents have increased more than 20 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels. The bill that passed gives a comfortable margin for property owners to keep up with maintenance, make needed repairs and get a return on their investment while also addressing rent gouging.

I encourage the Council to finalize this legislation and pass it as soon as possible, too many renters are counting on us to help keep them in their homes for us to delay any longer.

WSSC Amnesty Extended Through July

WSSC is extending its “Get Current” water/sewer bill amnesty program through the end of July. It was set to end in June. Please contact the water company now if you're behind on payments to avoid losing your water. You must apply to WSSC to take advantage of the “Get Current” program. Customers earning up to 150 percent of the area median income for our area could qualify for assistance.

WSSC says it has already started temporary suspensions for overdue accounts and permanent shut offs begin on July 5. The thought of residents losing their water and incurring unnecessary expenses to get it flowing again is an upsetting prospect. I do not want to see families suffer this way, especially during the summer when more people and children are at home. Visit wsscwater.com/getcurrent to learn more.

County Minimum Wage on the Rise

July 1 will also bring higher pay for many people here in Montgomery County. When I was a County Councilmember, I was proud to lead the two fights to raise the minimum wage, and it’s great to see it going into action, including annual adjustments for inflation.

Starting on the 1st of the month, large employers with staff of at least 51 people will be required to pay employees $16.70 an hour. Mid-sized employers with staff of more than 10 and up to 50 will pay be required to pay employees $15 per hour. Smaller companies will have to raise pay to $14.50 an hour on July 1.

The minimum wage for that last group of workers will rise to $15 in six months because of action by the General Assembly that raises the statewide minimum to $15 in January.

The increase in our minimum wage was a collective effort. I especially appreciate the Governor’s leadership at the State level, and I am appreciative of the coalition of labor, elected officials, business leaders and community organizations that supported it.

Welcoming New Leaders for Housing, Corrections

I want to welcome our two newest leaders to Montgomery County Government. This week, the County Council approved my nominations of Scott Bruton to lead the County’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs and Ben Stevenson to lead the County’s Department of Correction and Rehabilitation.

Scott came to the County six months ago and served as Deputy Director, and then acting director of DHCA. Dr. Bruton brings a lot of real-world experience to his new role. At the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development in Washington, D.C. he was able to advocate for increases of nearly $2 billion dollars in local funding for affordable housing and homelessness prevention programs since 2016. He will be an important part of our work with tenants, developers and government leaders to help us address our affordable housing crisis.

Ben has 27 years of experience in Montgomery County’s DOCR. He helped guide the jail and reentry program through challenges presented by COVID-19 while overseeing Community Corrections and Medical and Behavioral Services. He has institutional knowledge that will help us better manage our services and we appreciate his willingness to serve.

Saying Goodbye to Chief Goldstein

Today is Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service Chief Scott Goldstein’s final day with us. For those of you who have not heard, he will retire from MCFRS and take a new role as chief in Kelso, Wash., closer to his wife’s family.

I have thanked him for his long and dedicated service to our County. He started as a Kensington volunteer in 1987, worked his way into leadership roles and has served as our chief for the last eight years. He is helped guide us through some major challenges while also expanding, improving and innovating MCFRS. We wish him and his family the best.

Happy 4th of July

On Tuesday, we will all pause to recognize the 4th of July. Some of you will join the millions of people on the move for the holiday, while others will welcome family and friends to enjoy time here in Montgomery County.

There are many wonderful ways to mark Independence Day across the Washington region, but I want to highlight a couple of free events that we celebrate every year. The first is Mid-County Sparkles at Albert Einstein High School in Kensington on Saturday, July 1. Festivities, including live music from Ocho de Bastos and an Earth, Wind and Fire tribute band, will start around 6 p.m. with a fireworks show planned for around 9. The only parking available on-site will be for individuals with disabilities. Free parking and shuttle service will be provided starting at 5:30 p.m. from Westfield Wheaton mall.

On Tuesday, July 4, the Germantown Glory at South Germantown Recreational Park gets started at 7 p.m. A concert by Forever Tina, a tribute band honoring the late queen of rock and roll, Tina Turner, will be held before fireworks get started around 9:15 p.m. Lawn chairs, blankets and coolers are welcome at both events. There will be food vendors at both locations. Alcoholic beverages and pets are not permitted.

I would like to thank everyone at Montgomery Recreation for their work on these and other events as well as sponsors like the Maryland Soccerplex, Montgomery Parks and Westfield Wheaton. I know there will be many community celebrations over the next several days from Montgomery Village to Takoma Park to Friendship Heights bringing neighbors together.

Let’s all have fun, be safe and remember fireworks of all kinds are illegal in Montgomery County. The reason is because, every year, hundreds of children nationwide are permanently disfigured because of burns from fireworks. Snap and pop noise makers, snakes or party poppers are the only exceptions to the ban. Learn more about staying safe this holiday by visiting the MCFRS tips page.

As always, my appreciation for all of you,

Marc Elrich
County Executive

June 28, 2023

Holiday Schedule for Independence Day on Tuesday, July 4

The Montgomery County Government, and programs that impact County residents, will have schedule and program changes for Independence Day on Tuesday, July 4.
  • 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.
  • 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 July 4,
  • Department of Permitting Services—All offices, including the customer service lobby, will be closed.
  • Ride On Will operate on a Saturday schedule.
  • Ride On extRa and Flex bus services – Not in service.
  • Ride On Flash – The Orange Route will operate on a Weekends & Holidays schedule. The Blue Route (typically, weekday only) will not be in service.
  • MARC Train—Saturday service on the Penn Line only. No Camden or Brunswick Line service
  • TRiPS Silver Spring commuter store—Closed.
  • TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store—Closed.
  • Metrobus—Will operate on a Sunday schedule. Free fares after 5 p.m. See https://www.wmata.com/schedules/timetables/.
  • Metrorail—Will have frequent service, with trains running from 7 a.m. to a time TBD. Free fares after 5 p.m. See https://www.wmata.com/schedules/timetables/.
  • Public Parking Garages, Lots, Curbside Meters—Free.
  • County-provided trash and recycling collections are on a regular schedule on Monday, July 3. There will be no trash and recycling collections on Tuesday, July 4. Collections will slide one day throughout the rest of the week, with the last pickup on Saturday, July 8.
  • Shady Grove Transfer Station and Recycling Center—Closed on July 4.
  • 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 www.MontgomeryParks.org for complete information. Additional information:
The following facilities will be closed on Tuesday, July 4:
  • Montgomery Parks Headquarters and Permits Offices.
  • Montgomery Parks Customer Service Office.
  • Cabin John Ice Rink and Wheaton Ice Arena.
  • Wheaton Indoor Tennis and Pauline Betz Addie Tennis Center.
  • Indoor nature facilities - 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.

County to Host Independence Day Fireworks Shows in Kensington and Germantown

Montgomery County will host two free Independence Day fireworks displays this year, one on Saturday, July 1, and the other on Tuesday, July 4.

The Independence Day celebrations will take place at the following locations:
“Our Independence Day fireworks displays are such wonderful events and the perfect opportunity to enjoy music, outdoors and time with family and friends,” said Montgomery County Recreation Director Robin Riley. "We look forward to celebrating together once again this summer.”

Mid-County Sparkles will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 1, with concerts by Ocho de Bastos, an Earth Wind and Fire Tribute Band. The only parking available on-site will be for individuals with disabilities. Free parking and shuttle service will be provided starting at 5:30 p.m., from Westfield Wheaton, located at 11160 Veirs Mill Road. Event goers who park at Westfield Wheaton prior to 5:30 p.m. may be subject to towing by the property owner. Follow the directional signs for event parking and shuttles.

Germantown Glory will kick off at 7 p.m. on July 4 with a concert by Forever Tina, a tribute band to the late queen of rock and roll, Tina Turner. On-site parking is available.

The fireworks displays will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m. at both celebrations. The timing of the fireworks may change due to weather conditions. Lawn chairs, blankets and coolers are welcome at both events. There will be food vendors at both locations. Alcoholic beverages and pets are not permitted.

Sign language interpreter services and other auxiliary aids or services will be provided upon request with as much notice as possible, preferably at least three business days before the event. To request special accommodations, contact 240-777-6840 or email rec.inclusion@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Maryland Soccerplex, Montgomery Parks and Westfield Wheaton are the main sponsors of the events.

For more information, call MC311 at 311 or 240-777-0311 or visit the Montgomery County Recreation website.

County Minimum Wage Will Increase on July 1 to $16.70 Per Hour for Large Employers

The minimum wage rate for all workers in Montgomery County will increase on July 1, 2023, as required by the County Code. The County’s $15 minimum wage law went effect in 2017 as a result of legislation sponsored by then-County Council member, and current County Executive, Marc Elrich. County Code Section 27-68 establishes minimum wage rates for large, mid-sized, and small employers and stipulates that each rate be adjusted for inflation annually after reaching $15

“I was proud to lead two successful efforts to raise the minimum wage rate for workers in Montgomery County,” said County Executive Elrich. “We were the first county in Maryland to raise the rate to $15, and we were again the first to index rate to inflation so that it does not lose its purchasing power over time. Raising the minimum wage is about dignity and justice for hardworking individuals who deserve to be paid a decent wage for their work.”

Based on the 6.8 percent increase in the consumer price index during 2022 for all urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W) in the Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria area, the minimum wage rate for large employers (51 employees or more) will increase to $16.70 per hour. This is the second year the large employer rate has been adjusted by the increase in CPI-W.

The rate for mid-sized employers (11-50 employees) will increase to $15 per hour. Starting July 1, 2024, the minimum wage rate for mid-sized employers will also be indexed to inflation.

The rate for small employers (10 or less employees) will increase to $14.50 per hour. The rate for small employers will increase again on Jan. 1, 2024, because of a change in state law championed by Gov. Wes Moore and the entire Montgomery County Delegation to the General Assembly. Inflation indexing for the County’s small employer wage rate will begin on July 1, 2025.

“I was raised by a single mom who worked two jobs—and I understand the significance that raising the minimum wage will have on so many Montgomery County families,” said County Council President Evan Glass. “In these tough economic times, we must increase wages and support working families. The minimum wage increase on July 1 will help ease some of the economic burden that many families are currently feeling.”

Council Economic Development Committee Chair Natali Fani-Gonzales said the increase in the minimum wage is a positive step for the County.

“I am proud to be part of a County that recognizes the dignity of work not only in our word, but also in our deeds,” said Counclmember Fani-Gonz├ílez. “The enhanced minimum wage put into place by my predecessors in County leadership puts more money into low-income and immigrant workers pockets—a needed reprieve as costs soar across the board for working families.”

Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for New 6th District Police Station in Gaithersburg

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council President Evan Glass joined the ceremonies on June 29 as the County broke ground on a new 6th District Police Station at 222 Paramount Park Drive in Gaithersburg. Serving the Gaithersburg and Montgomery Village communities, the new 6th District Police Station will replace an outdated facility with a new, sustainably designed energy-efficient building scheduled to open in spring 2025.

Located less than a mile away from the existing police station, the new 6th District station will be constructed at the northeast intersection of I-270 and Watkins Mill Road. The 6th District station is designed to accommodate up to 178 department staff and volunteers.

The project is designed to achieve NetZero energy performance utilizing microgrid technology and photo voltaic onsite power generation. The building systems are fully electrified in keeping with Montgomery County carbon neutral goals. The building was designed and will be delivered under the International Green Construction Code (IgCC 2018) requirements.

The Micro Grid project is being delivered in partnership with the Montgomery County, Department of General Services’s Division of Energy and Sustainability in partnership with GreenStruxture.

To view the ceremonies of the groundbreaking ceremonies for the future 6th District Station, go to https://youtu.be/EdIEBZhWLT4.

Stay Safe on The Roads: County Issues Warning Against Impaired Driving Ahead of Independence Day Weekend, with Increased Enforcement Planned

As Independence Day weekend approaches, the Montgomery County Department of Police and the County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) are warning motorists: Impaired driving is drunk driving. County Police and allied local and State police departments will be on the road with enhanced patrols and sobriety checkpoints throughout the weekend.

Maryland’s recreational cannabis legalization law goes into effect on Saturday, July 1. Under the referendum that voters approved in November, adults 21-and-over can purchase recreational cannabis from licensed dispensaries. Possession of up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis by adults over the age of 21 will be legal. County Police are emphasizing that it is illegal to drive while impaired, including under the influence of cannabis.

“Our officers will be conducting sobriety checkpoints throughout the extended weekend,” said Montgomery Police Chief Marcus Jones. “We implore drivers to think of cannabis the same way they think of alcohol. Do not get behind the wheel of a car if you are impaired. Our officers will pull over and arrest anyone they suspect of driving while impaired. Alcohol, marijuana and other drugs can impair the ability to drive because they slow coordination, judgment, and reaction times. Our priority is keeping the roads safe for everyone.”

Nationally, the holiday weekend, marked by celebrations and increased travel, often comes with a surge in traffic crashes caused by excessive speed, impairment and distracted driving. The National Safety Council estimates 619 people may die on U.S. roads this Independence Day holiday.

MCDOT strongly advises celebrants to make arrangements ahead of time for safe transportation to and from events. The County’s Vision Zero effort to prevent death and injury on Montgomery County roadways offers a listing of local safe rides on its website here.

“We are expecting a record number of travelers to be on the road this weekend and into early next week,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “With Independence Day falling on a Tuesday this year, we know many people have plans to take an extended weekend for travel. Anytime someone chooses to drive while impaired it creates a serious threat to our community and combined with the sheer number of drivers on the road, this an especially dangerous time. We urge anyone planning to use alcohol or cannabis as part of their celebration to plan a safe ride home before heading out."

To aid this effort, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s SoberRide®, in partnership with Lyft, will offer a limited number of codes for $15 off a Lyft from 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 4, until 4 a.m. Wednesday, July 5. The first 1,500 passengers who enter a promo code that will be posted on July 4 at 3 p.m. will receive free rides up to $15. Users must be 21 or older and are responsible for any costs above $15. The service is valid in Lyft’s Washington, D.C. coverage area.

To request a SoberRide
  • Go to SoberRide.com.
  • During an active campaign time, the website will list the promo code.
  • Open the Lyft App on your smartphone.
  • Tap the menu icon in the top left corner.
  • Tap 'Rewards' in the menu that appears.
  • Tap 'Enter promo code' to add the SoberRide® code from the website (remember to check spelling).
  • Tap 'Apply' to finish.
For more information on the new Maryland cannabis law taking effect on July 1, visit the Maryland Cannabis Administration webpage here.

History of Boyds Kayak Tour, Full Moon Fridays and ‘Something Awesome’ Highlight July Nature Center Programs

The nature centers of Montgomery Parks have a calendar loaded with special events of many interests in July. Among the highlights are a history of Boyds kayak tour, “Full Mon Fridays” and “Something Awesome.”

The nature center schedule of special events in July will include:
  • Bug Hunt. Saturday, July 1.1-4 p.m. Black Hill Nature Programs, 20926 Lake Ridge Drive, Boyds. Hunt for bugs and bring your catch back to the naturalist to help identify and learn more about them. Ages 6 and older. Registration required. $7 (Accompanying adults are free).
  • History of Boyds Kayak Tour. Friday, July 7. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Black Hill Nature Programs, 20926 Lake Ridge Drive, Boyds Join the Historical Society of Boyds on a kayak tour back in history. Ages 14 and older. Registration required. $30 ($29 Friends of Black Hill).
  • Full Moon Fridays. Friday, July 7. 6:30-8 p.m. Locust Grove Nature Center, 7777 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda. Enjoy a full moon hike and campfire. Feel free to bring your own hot dogs or food to warm over the fire. Marshmallows provided. Ages 5 and older. Registration required. $8.
  • Something Awesome.Saturdays, July 8, 23, 29. 1-4 p.m. (July 8); 1:30-4:30 p.m. (July 23); Noon-4 p.m. (July 29). Black Hill Nature Programs, 20926 Lake Ridge Drive, Boyds. Celebrate nature with awesome family activities and let curiosity be your guide with this self-led program. All ages. Free.
  • Park in the Dark. Friday, July 14. 8:30-9:30 p.m. Brookside Nature Center, 1400 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton. Find out who is out and about in Wheaton Regional Park after dark. Ages 5 and older. Registration required. $7.
  • Common Garden Pests and Diseases. Saturday, July 15. 10 a.m.-noon. Live Zoom event. Learn to recognize plant disease symptoms and conditions and how and when to apply organic or chemical treatments. Also, learn to distinguish between harmful and beneficial insects and their life cycles, as well as natural, biological and chemical controls. Led by Carol Allen, University of Maryland Department of Plant Sciences. Ages 18 and older. Registration required. $12.
  • Kindness Rocks. Saturday, July 15. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Meadowside Nature Center, 5100 Meadowside Lane, Rockville. Observe World Rock Day by creating kindness rocks with pictures and inspirational messages. Place one rock along a hiking trail and make another to take home. All ages. Registration required. $8.
  • Sprinklers, Bubbles & Rainbows. Saturday, July 15. 1-4 p.m. Black Hill Nature Programs, 20926 Lake Ridge Drive, Boyds. Dance and run through sprinklers. Make bubbles with giant bubble wands. Splash in water play stations. Summer water fun for the whole family. All ages. Registration required. Free.
  • Moth Night. Saturday, July 15. 11 p.m.-2 a.m. Black Hill Nature Programs, 20926 Lake Ridge Drive, Boyds. Go mothing at Black Hill. Registration is required but participants can drop in anytime during the program hours. Ages 12 and older. Registration required. $14 ($13 Friends of Black Hill).
  • Creek Critter Search. Thursday, July 20. 1:30-2:20 p.m. Maydale Nature Classroom, 1638 Maydale Drive, Colesville. Splash in the creek and see what is swimming, diving and living in the creek. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Registration required. Ages 6–10. $4.
  • Campfire Cookout: Fire and Ice. Saturday, July 20. 6-7 p.m. Maydale Nature Classroom, 1638 Maydale Drive, Colesville. Enjoy a summer evening around the campfire with family and friends while taking in the sights and sounds of nature. Registration required. Ages 3 and older. $6.
  • Play Day in the Park. Friday, July 21. 11 a.m.-noon. Black Hill Nature Programs, 20926 Lake Ridge Drive, Boyds. For toddlers of all ages and abilities. but materials are geared toward children ages 1 to 3. Registration required. Free.
Visit the Summer 2023 Montgomery Parks Program Guide. Go to Montgomery Parks event calendar for a complete list of special events and programming and to learn how to sign up using ActiveMontgomery.

Five Things to Know About Special Event Permits from the Department of Permitting Services

From arts and music festivals to fireworks shows and athletic tournaments, Montgomery County is a destination for special events. The County’s Department of Permitting Services (DPS) is committed to ensuring the permitting process for these events is easier than ever.

Carnivals, community festivals, dances, fairs, picnics and recreation activities are examples of activities that may require a special event permit. If a community association, nonprofit or other type of organization is planning an event, it should check to see if a special event permit is needed. To contact DPS about possibly needing a special event permit, call MC 311 or 240-777-0311.

Here are five more things to know about permits before planning a special event that is open to the public in Montgomery County.
  • A Special Event permit is required for events in Montgomery County that generate or invite public participation or spectators resulting in an impact on public streets, sidewalks and adjacent private properties.
  • The application process for a special event begins online. If organizing a special event, it is important to apply for the permit online at least 30 days before the event. The online special event permit application is posted on the DPS website for convenience.
  • The DPS special event permit serves as an organizational guide to ensure events comply with local laws, ordinances and executive regulations. The permit requires event planners to consider and prepare for the safe installation of tents, electrical equipment, stages, traffic management plans and adequate public facilities, such as restrooms.
  • Depending on the type of special event, additional licenses or permits may be needed from other County departments. Examples are listed below:
A special event permit helps organizers and planners stay aware of fees that must be paid and inspections that must be passed prior to the approval of licenses and/or permits for the upcoming event. The result is reduced planning timelines and improved coordination with partner agencies including Montgomery County Police, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, ABS, HHS, DEP and DOT.

“The DPS special event permit serves as a planning tool for event planners to ensure their event is in compliance with local laws, ordinances and executive regulations,” said DPS Deputy Director Ehsan Motazedi. “The goal is that the special event, whether it be a festival or professional golf tournament, is remembered by both organizers and the public as a positive and successful experience.”

Recently, DPS was recognized by the National Association of Counties with a 2023 achievement award for its Special Event Permit in the category of “Civic Education and Public Information.”

For more information about permitting services, visit the DPS website at montgomerycountymd.gov/dps or stop by the customer service lobby at 2425 Reedie Drive (7th floor) in Wheaton. DPS offices are open from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. No appointment is necessary. If you have questions, contact MC 311 or 240-777-0311.

To Celebrate Late Mexican Painter Frida Kahlo’s Birthday, See Her Art in Online Workshop on Thursday, July 6

Two Fridas, Self-Portrait by Frida Kahlo

The late Frida Kahlo was one of the most influential Mexican painters of the 20th century. In her relatively short life (1907-1954), she left an impression that remains important seven decades later. To celebrate her birthday, which would have been July 6, Silver Spring Town Center, Inc., will present the “It’s Frida Kahlo’s Birthday: See More in Her Art” virtual workshop on 7-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 6.

The workshop will be led by artist/educator/author Renee Sandell. The workshop will enable participants to experience an interactive, new way of understanding art that unlocks the unique ideas and feelings embedded in a painting by Ms. Kahlo.

Ms. Sandell’s art, teaching and research focus on “Visual Fitness 4 All,” the result of more than 45 years of art teaching experience in classrooms and museums. A retired university professor in art education, Ms. Sandell is the co-author of three books and multiple publications. She was founder/director of the National Art Education Association’s SummerVision DC—a four-day, museum-based, intensive bootcamp program she led for a decade. She currently teaches for Smithsonian Associates Studio Arts, Yellow Barn Studio, Rancho La Puerta and other venues.

To view the workshop, and participate if you choose, go to Meeting Registration - Zoom.

To get maximum enjoyment from the Zoom workshop, it is suggested participants have a piece of white paper and a black Sharpie marker.

A downloadable handout will be available at the end of the event.