August 30, 2023

Holiday Schedule for Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 4

Holiday Schedule for Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 4

The Montgomery County Government, and programs that impact County residents, will have schedule and program changes for Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 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 Sept. 4.
  • Department of Permitting Services—All offices, including the customer service lobby, will be closed.
  • Ride On—Will operate on a Sunday schedule.
  • Ride On extRa and Flex bus services – Not in service.
  • Ride On Flash – The Orange Route will operate on a Weekends and Holidays schedule. The Blue Route (typically, weekday only) will not be in service.
  • MARC Train—No service.
  • TRiPS Silver Spring commuter store—Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sept. 4.
  • TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store—Closed.
  • Metrobus—Will operate on a Sunday schedule.
  • Metrorail—Trains will operate on a Sunday schedule, with trains running from 7 a.m.-midnight.
  • Public Parking Garages, Lots, Curbside Meters—Free.
  • County-provided trash and recycling collections: There will be no trash and recycling collections on Monday, Sept. 4. Collections will slide one day throughout the rest of the week, with the last pickup on Saturday, Sept. 9.
  • Shady Grove Transfer Station and Recycling Center—Closed on Sept. 4.
  • Aquatic Centers— County outdoor aquatic facilities will be open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 3-6 p.m. The Upper County Outdoor Pool is closed for the season. Indoor aquatic facilities will close at 6 p.m., with the exception of the Martin Luther King Jr. Swim Center. It will be closed all day.
  • Community Recreation Centers—Closed.
  • Senior Centers—Closed.
For Montgomery Parks information, visit Additional details:
  • South Germantown SplashPark—Open through Sept. 4, 10 a.m.‒6 p.m. For more information and for admission fees, visit
  • Black Hill and Lake Needwood Boats—Black Hill boat rentals at Little Seneca Lake in Black Hill Regional Park open through Sept. 4, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Lake Needwood boat rentals in Rock Creek Regional Park open through Sept. 4, 10 a.m.‒6 p.m.
  • Open Parkways Program—The Open Parkways will be extended during the Labor Day holiday weekend. During this time, parkways are open to pedestrians and bicyclists and closed to motor vehicles. This includes: Beach Drive between Connecticut and Knowles Avenue (2.9 miles) from 7 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2, until 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 4; Sligo Creek Parkway between Old Carroll Avenue and Piney Branch Road and between Forest Glen Road and University Boulevard West from 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept.1, until 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 4; Little Falls Parkway between Arlington Road and Dorset Avenue (0.4 miles) is open 24/7 for recreation and exercise
Facilities open Labor Day weekend also will include:
The following facilities will be closed on Sept.4:
  • Montgomery Parks headquarters and permits offices.
  • Montgomery Parks customer service office.
  • Cabin John Ice Rink and Wheaton Ice Arena (also closed Sept. 2‒3).
  • Wheaton Indoor Tennis.
  • Pauline Betz Addie Tennis Center (closed Aug. 28­‒Sept. 4 for maintenance).
  • 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.

85th Annual Gaithersburg Labor Day Parade Will Step Off on Monday, Sept. 4

85th Annual Gaithersburg Labor Day Parade Will Step Off on Monday, Sept. 4

The 85th Annual Gaithersburg Labor Day Parade will return to the streets of Olde Towne at 1 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 4. This rain or shine event includes dance groups, antique cars and fire trucks, clowns and high school marching bands. It also will feature an assortment of community groups and equestrian units. County Executive Marc Elrich is scheduled to be in the parade.

The parade is the way the City of Gaithersburg and the Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Fire Department celebrate the unofficial end of summer.

The parade will wind its way down East Diamond and Russell avenues. Larry Miller, multiple Emmy and Edward R. Murrow Award-winning morning news anchor and consumer investigative reporter for WUSA9 TV, will be the parade’s master of ceremonies.

Food vendors will be located at Olde Towne Plaza and the parking lot next to the Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Fire Station.

Ample free parking will be available at the Lakeforest Shopping Center transit station, with complimentary shuttle service to and from Gaithersburg Elementary School beginning at noon. Those who wish to view the parade in the shade along Russell Avenue can walk there from the transit station by way of Odend’hal Avenue. Limited free parking will be available in the Olde Towne Parking Garage, located at the corner of Olde Towne and South Summit avenues.

Accessible parking for those with disability placards or plates will be available behind the Victor Litz store on the north side of Diamond Avenue and behind the Shell station on South Summit Avenue.

More information about the parade is available at

Kensington to Celebrate Labor Day with 56th Annual Morning Parade and Festival

Kensington to Celebrate Labor Day with 56th Annual Morning Parade and Festival

The 56th Annual Town of Kensington Labor Day Parade and Festival will start off the holiday early, with the parade kicking off at 10 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 4. The parade will include marching bands, equestrian show groups, dance units, floats and ambassadors. Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich is scheduled to participate in the parade.

Following the parade, the festival will continue on Armory Avenue through 2 p.m. The festival will feature food trucks, vendors and activities.

More information on the parade is available at

Glen Echo Park to Host 52nd Annual Labor Day Weekend Art Show Featuring the Work of More Than 300 Artists

Glen Echo Park to Host 52nd Annual Labor Day Weekend Art Show Featuring the Work of More Than 300 Artists

The 52nd Annual Labor Day Weekend Art Show at Glen Echo Park will be held in the park’s historic Spanish Ballroom from noon-6 p.m. each day starting Saturday, Sept. 2, and running through Monday, Sept. 4. The exhibition features the work of more than 300 artists from the Mid-Atlantic Region. Admission is free.

Glen Echo Park is located at 7300 MacArthur Blvd. in Glen Echo. More information about the art show is available at LABOR DAY WEEKEND | Glen Echo Park.

Presented by the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, the exhibition and sale is traditionally one of the largest art shows in the area. The show includes works in a wide range of artistic media including:
  • Sculpture
  • Painting and Drawing
  • Ceramics
  • Glass
  • Jewelry
  • Fiber Arts
  • Photography
  • Furniture
  • Works on paper
Glen Echo Park is one of the finest cultural resources in the Washington area.

The park is home to 13 resident artists and organizations, including two award-winning children's theaters; a nature and aquatic life program for kids; a thriving social dance program; a restored 1921 Dentzel Carousel; and numerous art studios and galleries. It hosts hundreds of classes in visual and performing arts including ceramics, painting, photography, glass, music and dance. The activities, as well as free summer concerts, festivals, and special events bring thousands of visitors to the park each year.

Glen Echo Park is managed by the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture. Learn more about the partnership at ABOUT GLEN ECHO PARK | Glen Echo Park.

Competition for Pickleball Court Space Will Be Topic of Montgomery Parks Virtual Speaker Series Online Panel Discussion on Friday, Sept. 8

Competition for Pickleball Court Space Will Be Topic of Montgomery Parks Virtual Speaker Series Online Panel Discussion on Friday, Sept. 8

The competition for court space between tennis players and players of pickleball, the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., will be the topic starting at 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8, in the next event in the Montgomery Parks’ Virtual Speaker Series. The online discussion, which is free to join and open to all, will feature a panel of experts discussing the challenges of meeting the rapidly growing demand for pickleball in local park systems, comparing the situation in Montgomery County with other areas of the country.

Registration to join the discussion is available at Register. What a pickle! Balancing pickleball and tennis in parks. A Zoom link will be sent to registrants the day before the session.

Pickleball’s popularity continues to grow rapidly in Montgomery County and across nation. The low-impact sport is played on a portion of a tennis court or on smaller dedicated courts with a tennis-like net. Players use paddles slightly larger than ping pong paddles to hit a plastic whiffle ball over the net.

The sport is easy for people of all ages to learn, but often becomes very competitive among experienced players.

In 2019, Montgomery Parks concluded a multi-year study to assess how and where the agency can meet the demand for pickleball. Many of the recommendations have been implemented since then, and Montgomery Parks now has nearly 100 pickleball courts with many more planned.

Using input from residents, pickleball players and tennis players, Montgomery Parks is looking for ways to add more opportunities for outdoor pickleball play while mitigating potential negative impacts to nearby residents.

The speakers in the Sept. 8 panel discussion will be:
  • Alex Kerman. As the director of business operations and research for the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, he leads SFIA’s signature research efforts including the Physical Activity Council survey, which measures sports participation rates in the United States. He also directs SFIA’s Start-Up Challenge, an event that highlights the latest innovations in the sports and fitness; and the Soccer Industry Council of America and the Pickleball Council.
  • David Robinson. He has worked in the tennis industry for 43 years. He is a certified teaching pro of tennis and pickleball and is currently the director of racquet sports for the Little Falls Swim and Racquet Club in Bethesda. He is vice president of the board of directors for the U.S. Professional Tennis Association—Mid Atlantic. He also served as the tennis and pickleball representative on the Montgomery Parks Sport Court Working group in 2018-19 that included the agency’s 2019 Pickleball Study.
  • Carl Schmits. He is the USA Pickleball Association’s managing director of Equipment Standards & Facilities Development. In this role, he and his team are responsible for the definition, design and implementation of specifications, standards and testing protocols. Mr. Schmits is USA Pickleball’s primary liaison with the manufacturers and independent certification lab on all testing matters. He oversees and manages USA Pickleball’s equipment compliance department.
  • Stacie West. She is a principal parks planner for Denver Parks and Recreation, where she works on citywide plans and policies to ensure the continued stewardship of the Denver parks and parkways system. Prior to moving to Denver in 2021, she worked in Washington, D.C., for a public-private partnership to plan, design and build a network of new parks and public spaces in the NoMa Business Improvement District. She was a community planner for the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation.

State Highway Administration in Midst of Roadside Litter Cleanup Program

State Highway Administration in Midst of Roadside Litter Cleanup Program
The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) this week launched an all-hands-on-deck litter and debris removal effort aimed at removing litter from its roadsides prior to Labor Day weekend. SHA maintenance shop personnel have been spanning the State to beautify roadsides as part of its “Operation Clean Sweep Maryland” project.

In addition to making roadways look better, the project has additional goals.

Litter, including plastic bottles, fast food containers and cigarette butts, can wind up in highway drainage systems and clog the system or cause slow drainage. This creates dangerous conditions, such as ponding of water during storms. Litter that makes it past drainage systems can enter streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay and poses a threat to wildlife habitats.

The State Highway Administration launched Operation Clean Sweep Maryland in February 2023 to perform an all-hands-on deck litter and debris removal effort across Maryland. In Fiscal Year 2023, SHA collected nearly 9,000 truckloads of litter and debris from Maryland highways. Since July 1 (the beginning of Fiscal Year 2024), crews have collected an additional 1,000 truckloads.

Litter and mowing crews are working directly adjacent to traffic. As SHA continues with its litter and mowing efforts, motorists should pay close attention and reduce speeds and distractions when traveling near work crews.

Residents are encouraged to report issues of litter and high grass on State roads by clicking here or calling 410-545-0300. 

Rockville Victorian Lyric Opera Company Will Present ‘The Sorcerer’ on Saturday, Sept. 2

Rockville Victorian Lyric Opera Company Will Present ‘The Sorcerer’ on Saturday, Sept. 2

The Rockville Victorian Lyric Opera Company is celebrating 45 years of presenting opera locally with a season of three delightful comic operas. The season will include Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Sorcerer at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2, at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre in Rockville.

The F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre is located at 603 Edmonston Dr.

Tickets for The Sorcerer are $28 for adults, $26 for seniors (65 and over) and $24 for students. Discount tickets are available for purchasing all three operas. For more information, call the box office at 240-314-8690 or go to

The Sorcerer features mystic sorcerer, magic love potion and creatures of the underworld.

The plot sees the rich, but witless Alexis, recently betrothed to the beautiful Aline. After having a vision, he plots to bring the joy of marriage to the entire town at his wedding ceremony. Alexis calls in the old family sorcerer, Jonathan Wellington Wells to concoct the perfect love potion. Naturally, this backfires and hilarity ensues.

The Sorcerer will be presented in conjunction with the 7th Great Gilbert and Sullivan Sing Out. Those participating in the Sing Out do not need to purchase a ticket to this performance. Entry is included with your registration fee.

The performance will be presented in semi-staged concert format with full orchestra.

The season also will include:
  • Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Feb. 23-March 3. The opera centers on a glittering ball, forbidden romance and multiple disguises that make for a dazzling night at the theater.
  • Gilbert & Sullivan’s Ruddigore. June 7-16, Commit a crime every day or die an agonizing death? “No, thank you,” said Robin Oakapple, the Baronet of Ruddigore and current recipient of this terrible curse. However, his ghostly ancestors might have something to say about his decision to shirk his duty.

Child and Adult Used Bicycles Can Be Donated at the Annual Department of Transportation Event on Friday, Oct. 20, in Rockville

Child and Adult Used Bicycles Can Be Donated at the Annual Department of Transportation Event on Friday, Oct. 20, in Rockville

Bicycles that are no longer being used by some can make a big difference for others. The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s annual Bicycle Donation Drive will be held on Friday, Oct. 20. The event will make it easy to donate previously owned bikes and ensure they will have a continued impact.

From  7 a.m.-2 p.m. on Oct. 20, bikes will be collected (rain or shine) outside of the Montgomery County Council Office Building Garage at East Jefferson and Monroe Street in Rockville.

Bicycles should be in good working condition or in need of only minor repairs. Donations will be refurbished and MCDOT will match the bikes with residents in need through the Bike Match program.

Community members are welcome to organize a bike collection at their school, place of worship or within their neighborhood and bring the bikes to Rockville on Oct. 20. For drives that collect 10 or more bikes, MCDOT will arrange to pick them up at a prearranged location.

National Preparedness Month Events Throughout September Will Focus on Helping Older Adults Stay Safe During Emergencies

National Preparedness Month Events Throughout September Will Focus on Helping Older Adults Stay Safe During Emergencies

In recognition of National Preparedness Month in September, the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) and Montgomery County Recreation have teamed up to help educate older adults on the importance of preparing for natural disasters, catastrophic events and other emergency situations.  The County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will also participate in the events.

The annual National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), aims to raise awareness about ways to prepare for an emergency. This year’s focus is “Preparing for Older Adults.” Older adults often face greater risks during extreme weather events, especially if they live alone, are low-income, have a disability or live in rural areas.

Representatives from OEMHS will be visiting Recreation’s seven senior centers from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Fridays in September to discuss how older adults can plan ahead for managing their needs before, during and after an emergency.  DHHS will also attend to provide information about services and preparing for emergencies.

“September is National Preparedness Month and due to climate change we are seeing more frequent severe weather events,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “We only have to look at Hurricane Idalia, a Category 3 hurricane that impacted Florida this week, to see the importance and necessity of having a solid emergency plan in place. National Preparedness Month is an optimal time for all of us to learn how to keep ourselves and our family members safe in an emergency. Specifically, I appreciate our Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security’s efforts to engage and educate our older residents throughout the County’s senior centers throughout the month. Every resident and business in Montgomery County needs to be ready, whether it's a storm, power outage or any other unexpected situation. Take the time to make a plan now, so you're prepared."

The schedule for OEMHS and DHHS representatives visiting senior centers is:  
  • Friday, Sept. 8 - Wheaton Senior Center, 11701 Georgia Ave, Wheaton
  • Friday, Sept. 15 - Long Branch Senior Center, 8700 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring
  • Friday, Sept. 15 - Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center, 1000 Forest Glen Road, Silver Spring
  • Friday, Sept. 22 - Damascus Senior Center, 9701 Main Street, Damascus
  • Friday, Sept. 22 - White Oak Senior Center, 1700 April Lane, Silver Spring
  • Friday, Sept. 29 - Holiday Park Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Drive, Silver Spring
  • Friday, Sept. 29 - North Potomac Senior Center, 13850 Travilah Road, Potomac 
Participants can sign up to receive emergency alerts and warnings and learn how to make a plan to communicate with family or other members of their household, decide on a shelter plan and/or evacuation route and create or update their emergency preparedness kit.

The 2023 theme for National Preparedness Month is “Take control in 1, 2, 3.” FEMA recommends people take this time to plan ahead, make a plan and be informed. Tips for older adults to prepare for an emergency provided by the FEMA website include:
  • Plan for food, water and essentials for you as well as your pets or service animals.
  • Research pet-friendly evacuation centers. Not all shelters accept pets, so plan for alternatives. Consider asking loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area if they can help with your animals.
  • Plan for transportation if you need help evacuating. Include items that meet your individual needs, such as medicines, medical supplies, batteries and chargers, in your emergency supply kit.
  • Plan how you will have your assistive devices with you during an evacuation.
  • Make copies of Medicaid, Medicare and other insurance cards.
  • Create a support network of family, friends and others who can assist during an emergency. Make an emergency plan and practice it with them.
  • Make sure at least one person in your support network has an extra key to your home, knows where you keep your emergency supplies and knows how to use lifesaving equipment or administer medicine.
  • If you undergo routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital, find out their emergency plans and work with them to identify back-up service providers.
  • Prepare to get your benefits electronically as a disaster can disrupt mail service for days or weeks. If you depend on Social Security or other regular benefits, switching to electronic payments is a simple, important way to protect yourself financially before disaster strikes. It also eliminates the risk of stolen checks. The U.S. Department of the Treasury recommends two safer ways to get Federal benefits:
    1. Direct deposit to a checking or savings account. If you get Federal benefits, you can sign up by calling 800-333-1795 or sign up online.
    2. The Direct Express® prepaid debit card is designed as a safe and easy alternative to paper.
To stay informed and receive County-related emergency alerts from Montgomery County officials, register for Alert Montgomery, or follow OEMHS on Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter). For additional resources from OEMHS, visit the OEMHS Resource Library.  Visit the DHHS website to learn more about the County’s services for older adults or visit the Montgomery County Recreation website to learn more about the County’s senior centers and programs.

Grants Available to Support Companies Seeking to Grow through Overseas Partnerships, with Applications Due by Thursday, Sept. 7

Grants Available to Support Companies Seeking to Grow through Overseas Partnerships, with Applications Due by Thursday, Sept. 7

Montgomery County businesses looking to grow through partnerships with organizations overseas could be eligible for grants of up to $5,000 for qualified travel or marketing expenses through the Maryland Department of Commerce’s ExportMD program. Applications to receive grants must be submitted by Thursday, Sept. 7.

The grants would reimburse expenses for companies seeking customers, suppliers, manufacturers or academic partners to support the growth of their business.

Montgomery County is organizing a delegation of business, academic and government leaders traveling to Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bengalaru, Saigon/HCMC and Hanoi in late October to November. Businesses interested in joining the delegation can apply for an ExportMD grant to support this travel.  

ExportMD awards can reimburse expenses associated with an international marketing project. Traditionally, many companies have used grants to offset travel expenses related to international marketing. In addition, the funds can be applied for marketing initiatives ranging from website development to registration costs for virtual trade shows and missions.

For more information about the grant program, go to Export MD Grant — MCEDC (

‘A Bump in the Road: A History of Our Local Post Roads’ Will Be Presented Online by Montgomery History from Sept. 4-11

‘A Bump in the Road: A History of Our Local Post Roads’ Will Be Presented Online by Montgomery History from Sept. 4-11

The early evolution of the post roads and their impact on the development of Montgomery Country will be the subject of a free online presentation from Montgomery History that will be available Sept. 4-11.

“A Bump in the Road: A History of Our Local Post Roads” was originally presented by historian Bob Hines at the 2021 Montgomery County History Conference. His talk focuses on the County’s “post system,” the early road known as the Brookeville Turnpike and how post roads shaped the future of the country.

To view the presentation starting Sept. 4, go to » WATCH (

August 25, 2023

Message from the County Executive


Dear Friends,

Our nation this weekend will recognize the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. I attended this event when I was in junior high school. I took the bus down 16th Street and walked over to the Washington Monument. I honestly did not know the importance of that day, in that moment. I just knew that a lot of people were coming into D.C. that day to speak out for civil rights. In the crowds that gathered, I realized I was not alone and that were many others who were outraged by the same things that outraged me. It was good to know that I was not the only person who thought there was something wrong here.

I grew up in Washington, D.C., during segregation and “blockbusting.” I actually saw blockbusting in action when a pair of real estate agents came to my parents’ house and talked to my mother trying to convince her to sell her house because of who was moving into our neighborhood. I saw White families leave and saw the disinvestment in D.C., including the schools. My family moved to Montgomery County in 1960, at a time when Black children were not welcomed. Several years later, my civics teachers in junior high decided to have a class debate on civil rights. The “con” side of the argument argued the position that Black people were not fully human, they were childlike and that they needed to be taken care of. Not a word was spoken by the teachers about those arguments. No effort was made to explain our history. It was treated as just another point of view, even though the very premise of the argument was completely false. I have always thought about that. The kids who opposed civil rights did not invent those views. They did not get it overtly in school. They did not come from the water we drank. They got those racist ideas from adults and from institutions that perpetrated the lie. I have always wondered how those kids grew up: Did they accept the world view they had been raised with or would they grow to reject it? Sixty years later, there is lots of evidence that many people continue to cling to those views today.

I could never understand the logic of racism. It was a view of other people manufactured to provide a rationalization for stealing people’s lands and enslaving them. At the core, because the White community has been taught “all men a created equal and had a right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” the subjugation of Black people and native populations required White leaders to fabricate the myth that the enslaved were not fully men and were unequal by virtue of being born Black. On a side note, if you are bored some time, read the British parliamentary debates in the early 1900’s, and you will read discussions of the Irish “situation.” What struck me was that British leadership talked about the Irish being an inferior race, lower than Blacks, and that they should be exterminated. It was a “wow” moment for me because of the insight on how the British viewed the native Irish people, and why the Irish debate was not simply a religious dispute. It was rooted in the dehumanization of Irish Catholics that would be used to steal their land and make them subservient to the British rulers. But I digress. The point is that Western societies, in order to justify abusing conquered people, found that the only way to square their lofty thoughts about the rights of men with their desire to abuse certain people, steal their land and enslave them, required them to create a logic and belief system, that would be imparted on all of us, based on dehumanizing those they would enslave.

It was possible to eradicate slavery with a military victory in the United States, but undoing the beliefs that people were raised with around the inferiority of Black people was a far more difficult task, not at all helped by our refusal to correct the historical record.

In my college years, I fought against the discrimination I saw at University of Maryland, which was largely segregated. Back then in College Park, businesses would not hire Black students, and no landlords wanted to rent to them. Ultimately, laws could change policies, but policy changes, not always easy themselves, are easier than changing beliefs.

Dr. King famously said, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed; We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” I would have hoped that 60 years later, this nation would have fulfilled Dr. King’s wishes. But, sadly, after years of progress, we continue to see voting rights challenged, affirmative action being overturned and by the Supreme Court, and the refusal by many states—including our neighbors in Virginia—denying the accurate teaching of our racist history in the classrooms.

It is unfortunate that it is still necessary to address the legacy of slavery. It is disheartening to remember an interview that Dr. King had when he was fighting for civil rights legislation. The reporter said, “People say you are moving too fast,” and Dr. King responded that they want us to wait another 40 years. And yet, here we are 60 years later, and we still have massive disparities.

As much as we applaud the Civil Rights Act, not enough was done to change peoples’ lives and to raise them up in education, housing and economics. If you did not get a good education, you still did not get one. If you were in neighborhoods with poor schools, you stayed in poor schools If you lived in poverty, you stayed in poverty. The law failed and left out any plan to rebuild American and address accumulated injustices. For the most part, economic progress has been slow because the underlying socio-economic reality of people has been very slow to change. Prejudices and practices that kept people down remained, even while immigrant communities were welcomed and given opportunities to succeed.

That is one reason we use a racial equity tool in our County to evaluate the impact of our laws and actions in Montgomery County from the perspective of community impacts. Do our practices further, or remove, barriers that may result in unequal impacts with the County? We are examining our policies, practices and spending so that community needs are not ignored. We need every resident and every community to be respected and to have opportunities to thrive.

Generations ago, the March on Washington crystallized the vision of a more tolerant and just nation. We are not there. We are not where we need to be. Montgomery County can say: “We have made a lot of progress, we are one of the most diverse places in the country and there is lots to be proud of.” But we are not perfect. What we are is committed to working toward fulfilling Dr. King’s articulation of a vision that includes all of us.

School Begins on Monday, Aug. 28

As students, parents, and school staff prepare for the start of a new year, I want to thank our County departments who helped with summer activities and education for our children. I appreciate the work of our libraries for keeping so many children and teenagers reading this summer through the Summer Reading Challenge.

I also want to acknowledge the efforts of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Positive Youth Development program. It held six events across Montgomery County this summer under our “Summer of Peace” initiative to help engage youth and give them fun activities to look forward to from June to August. More than 1,400 children, teens and families attended our Summer of Peace events.

Other efforts, like our Department of Recreation summer camps, provided a safe space during the day throughout the summer for more than 650 young people. The programs also gave 150 kids a job and allowed 75 young people to volunteer through the TeenWorks program.

Registration is now open for fall programs. I encourage parents to consider the after-school and weekend programs that are available. You can register online at

I would also like to remind everyone about the importance of scheduling back-to-school vaccinations. They are required for public school students and cannot be ignored. The County is offering clinics most Tuesday mornings in September at the Dennis Avenue Health Center in Silver Spring. Visit for more information.

Immunizations will also be available at the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Back-to-School Fair from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 26, at the Westfield Wheaton Mall. This is a great opportunity to learn about the school system, County programs and services. Enjoy free music, entertainment, giveaways and youth activities.

MCPS will offer free shuttles to the event from Montgomery Blair, Paint Branch, Gaithersburg and Richard Montgomery high schools. The first shuttles will depart from high schools at 9 a.m. and the last shuttle will depart from Westfield Wheaton at 2 p.m.

Independent Investigation of MCPS Needed

I think it is important to reiterate my call for an independent investigation into sexual harassment allegations made against a now-suspended principal. Additionally, questions have been raised about possible systemic issues regarding responses beyond this one case.

The Board of Education this week provided additional information about the work of the law firm hired to conduct an investigation. I am concerned that using this law firm, which has been used in the past to defend the school district, at the very least does not give the necessary appearance of an independent investigation. Using this firm does not engender the public trust the school system badly needs. An inspector general is more appropriate for this type of investigation. I would support using the County’s inspector general (IG) to look into this investigation, but if she felt her capacity was too limited, the State IG could be asked to do this or a special investigator reporting to the IG could be retained.

The IG also needs to investigate other related allegations that indicate that the current issue may not be an isolated incident. That is, there may be a problem with how these complaints are handled generally. Resolving these questions and concerns is vital for both the community and staff. I hope that MCPS changes course to ensure a truly independent investigation. This is a situation where the appearance of what one does matters. There are multiple entities capable of properly doing an investigation. I am encouraging those with the power to make this change to pick an investigator that does not trigger concerns about independence or objectivity.

Governor Moore/MDOT Announcement on American Legion Bridge, I-270 and I-495

A new plan for the Maryland portion of the Capital Beltway and I-270 will be developed by the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) at the request of Governor Wes Moore. Importantly, this proposal will not include the $6 billion public-private partnership developed and championed by the Hogan Administration with Transurban—an Australian company.

Governor Hogan’s proposal was designed to provide revenue and increase the stock value for Transurban shareholders, not to relieve congestion for Maryland motorists or provide public transportation options.

I am pleased by Governor Moore’s announcement that MDOT will pursue a $2.4 billion dollar Federal grant to pay for needed improvements to the road and fix the American Legion Bridge first. These are two approaches that I have advocated for quite a while now. With President Biden’s emphasis on infrastructure and passage of the Inflation Reduction Act last year, the State should have been previously pursuing this funding.

Starting improvements with the bridge is a commonsense approach, and further recognizes the Governor’s desire to address this problem with actions rather than words. In addition, the Governor’s emphasis on transit in this plan—a significant departure from the previous administration—is key to the success of relieving traffic congestion for our residents and businesses.

I have talked with the Governor’s transportation staff, and it is clear that an actual build-out plan has yet to be determined. The administration is also aware of the broader community issues. The Governor and MDOT have clearly expressed a desire to ensure that they meaningfully engage the public and I have no reason to assume that they will not. So, I encourage people to stay engaged, and be vocal about their concerns should any arise.

I am confident that, by working in a true collaborative fashion, we can find a real solution to this issue that includes our community and resolves issues in a fiscally prudent manner.

Hard Work Ahead in Hawaii for MCFRS Specialists

Maryland Task Force One, including 50 members and two canines from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, arrived in Hawaii last weekend as part of the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue team. They have been deployed to help cover miles of massive devastation caused by the deadly wildfires. Authorities are saying that more than 1,000 people remain unaccounted for.

Our County is contributing more than 10 percent of the workforce deployed for this effort, and that is meaningful. This team is expected to be there for two weeks. It will be physically and emotionally challenging work. I deeply appreciate their willingness to participate in the deployment and I wish them a safe tour of duty.

With barely any notice or warning to flee these fires, survivors lost their homes, belongings and possessions. Even with Federal assistance, many of these families need more aid and help.

These wildfires in Hawaii, hurricanes in Texas and Haiti and tropical storms in California are not the only threats brought on by climate change. New wildfires starting in British Columbia, Canada, rising ocean temperatures and record heat waves are all examples of the deadly dangers from the impact climate change. The more we can do to protect our environment, improve sustainability and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, the better off we all will be.

If you want to help, you can donate to the Red Cross and other organizations like the Maui Strong Fund. They are working directly with the victims.

New Ride On Bus App Helps Identify Different Travel Options 

During my weekly media briefing this week, I welcomed the new director for the Department of Environmental Protection Jon Monger. I nominated him for the post because I recognized his passion for improving our lives through environmental change and his leadership qualities. His experience and strategic direction are needed to help accomplish our environmental and sustainability goals. You can listen to him at County Executive Marc Elrich Media Briefing August 23, 2023

One way we are trying to improve our climate is by making public transportation easier to use. Encouraging more people to leave their cars at home and use transit helps reduce greenhouse gases emissions, ease congestion and improve our quality of life.

Ease and access to Ride On is critical to many of our residents. Our bus system is second only to Metro. We have the second-largest public transportation system in the region, serving 46,000 trips on an average workday.

Public transportation can take cars off our streets and helps us reach our Climate Action Plan goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2027 and 100 percent by 2035.

I am pleased that we will soon be purchasing our first Hydrogen buses, as well as beginning construction on a fueling station for Green hydrogen.  This is part of transitioning our bus fleet to zero emissions by 2035, which already includes electric buses.  

We continue our work to improve public transit ridership. We have just released our easy-to-use Ride On Trip Planner app. The app allows for better planning across multiple modes of transportation including Ride On buses, Metrorail and Metrobuses, scooters and Bikeshare. 

Funded through a Federal Transit Administration grant, this new app provides riders the ability to plan their trip with more precise information about timing, locations, routes and crowd monitoring.  In addition to ride planning, the app also features increased accessibility to better serve residents with disabilities.

I encourage all County residents to download the free app, available via Google Play or the Apple app store (simply search Ride On Trip Planner). If you have not used Ride On yet, or if it has been a while, it is a good time to get on board. Free fares have been made permanent on Ride On for those under age 18 with Kids Ride Free program. Seniors and persons with disabilities can also ride for free. The regular price is only $1 per ride for everyone else.

Community Health Report

We continue to see a slow but steady rise in the number of COVID-19 cases here locally and across Maryland. In a graphic of our wastewater surveillance seen above, you can see the spike in cases over the last month and how that compares to previous waves of COVID. Right now, case rates and hospitalizations are both elevated over last week, but we are not seeing the same impact in emergency room visits or deaths. As long as those latter points remain the norm, we can manage this as we’re doing now.

The State of Maryland is dealing with something we have not seen in 40 years—a locally acquired case of malaria. Health experts say it is an isolated case. The victim was hospitalized and is now recovering, but that person had not traveled from a country where malaria is an issue.

Additionally, bug traps found West Nile Virus present in mosquito populations. No human cases of West Nile have been reported but, like malaria, the disease can be deadly. Spraying to kill mosquitos near traps in Laurel began on Sunday.

Maryland is not the only area seeing mosquito-borne illnesses. Northern Canada is currently warming at three times the global rate there, and mosquitos are spreading disease among wildlife at alarming rates. Virus antibodies were carried by artic foxes, caribou and polar bears.

It is no surprise then that in area where mosquitos are common that we have new threats to monitor and be prepared for. Mosquitos are the most-deadly animals in the world, killing 725,000 humans per year.

To avoid mosquito bites, you can tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks to cover gaps in your clothing where mosquitoes can get to your skin. Stay indoors if there is a mosquito-borne disease warning in effect and use EPA-registered mosquito repellents when necessary. You can help reduce the spread of mosquitos by eliminating standing water around your home. For more information, go to

I hope you have a good week.

As always, my appreciation for all of you,

Marc Elrich
County Executive

August 23, 2023

‘Gun Buyback’ Event Will Be Held in Rockville on Saturday, Aug. 26, with Up to $200 in Gift Cards Awarded in Exchange

‘Gun Buyback’ Event Will Be Held in Rockville on Saturday, Aug. 26, with Up to $200 in Gift Cards Awarded in Exchange

The Rockville City Police Department (RCPD), in partnership with the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office and Montgomery County Public Schools, will hold a “gun buyback” event from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26, (rain or shine) at RedGate Park in Rockville. The event is open to all and no ID is required. Gift cards of $100 or $200 will be presented to participants for functioning weapons, depending upon the type of weapon brought for exchange.

RedGate Park is located at 14500 Avery Road in Rockville. More than 300 firearms were voluntarily turned in by members of the community during a similar event last August.

Community members will be able to voluntarily turn in their firearms and receive a $100 Visa gift card for functioning handguns, rifles and shotguns or $200 in Visa gift cards for functioning assault-style weapons and privately manufactured firearms (ghost guns). All firearms will be accepted with no identification needed and a no-questions-asked policy by law enforcement. RCPD will maintain the ultimate determination on the eligible firearms for gift card issuance.

Participants must remain in their vehicle at all times. Firearms must be unloaded and transported in the trunk. No ammunition in guns is allowed. No walk-ups will be allowed.

For the issuance of the gift card, weapons must be functional. The event organizers reserve the right to limit the number of gift cards given to an individual, regardless of the number of weapons surrendered.

Non-functioning firearms and ammunition will be accepted with no exchange of compensation.

Gift card quantities are limited and subject to availability.

Every gun turned in is one less gun that could be used in a serious crime, suicide or domestic violence incident or accidentally discharged by a child. Keeping guns off community streets, out of the hands of youth and in schools remains the highest priority for all.

Gun buyback event details:
  • What categorizes as a functioning or non-functioning firearm, rifle, shotgun, handgun and fully automatic rifle? An unserviceable firearm is a firearm that is incapable of discharging a shot by the action of an explosive and is incapable of being readily restored to a firing condition. A rifle is a gun, especially one fired from shoulder level, having a long spirally grooved barrel. A shotgun is a long-barreled firearm designed to shoot a straight-walled cartridge known as a shotshell, which usually discharges numerous small pellet-like spherical sub-projectiles called shot, or sometimes a single solid projectile called a slug. A fully automatic firearm an auto-loading firearm that continuously chambers and fires rounds when the trigger mechanism is actuated.
  • Does the firearm need to be functioning to participate? Yes. To receive a $100 or $200 gift card, the firearm must be in functioning operation and it will be checked on-site. Non-functioning firearms may be returned. However, they are not eligible for a gift card.
  • Can I turn in more than one firearm? Yes. You can turn in several firearms. However, the event organizers reserve the right to limit the number of gift cards given to an individual, regardless of the number of weapons surrendered.
  • Can I have someone else drop off my firearm(s)? Yes. However, the gift card(s) will be handed over to the person who turned in the firearm.
  • How long is the VISA/Mastercard gift card activated for? Each gift card will be active for 12 months.
  • Will I need to show my ID? No identification or Government ID will be needed to participate.
  • Do I need to be a City of Rockville resident to participate? No ID is required, so residency will not be checked.
  • Does my immigration status affect my ability to participate? No.
  • What happens to the firearms after they are collected? They will then be destroyed.
  • Will I be able to participate by turning in my ammunition? Yes. You will be able to turn in unwanted ammunition. However, no monetary value will be given as the gift cards only apply to firearms. Ammunition can be turned into the police department at any time not just during the Gun Buyback.
For additional information about the event, contact the Rockville City Police Department at

Animal Services and Adoption Center Joins NBCUniversal Local’s ‘Clear The Shelters’ Pet Adoption Campaign by Waiving Adoption Fees Aug. 26 and 27

Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center has joined NBCUniversal Local’s 2023 “Clear The Shelters” pet adoption campaign by waiving adoption fees on all animals on Aug. 26 and 27. Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center is struggling with critical population levels. The Clear the Shelters event has led to record numbers of adoptions in past years and the shelter hopes to see the same results this year. 

This is the ninth consecutive year NBC and Telemundo-owned stations are partnering with affiliate stations and animal shelters and rescues to promote pet adoptions. Since its inception in 2015, Clear The Shelters has helped more than 860,000 pets find new homes.  

“Clear The Shelters is always an exciting event, and we love seeing all of the empty kennels afterwards,” said Adoption Supervisor Faith Koleszar. “We have so many wonderful pets looking for new homes.” 

Types of animals include:
  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Rabbits
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Turtles
  • Birds
 The shelter will use an appointment system to reduce wait times during the event. Potential adopters can start signing up for Clear The Shelters now. To make an appointment, adopters can start the process online by filling out the adoption questionnaire and emailing in the required documents. Adopters also can choose to visit the Adoption Center during open hours to start the process in-person and make an appointment. Walk-in appointments during Clear The Shelters are subject to counselor availability but are still encouraged in the event of cancellations or no shows. 

Adopters should be prepared to take an animal home at the end of their appointment by bringing a leash and collar for dogs and a carrier for cats or small animals. In the interest of finding as many homes as possible for pets, no holds will be placed. More information about the adoption process can be found at 

For more on Clear The Shelters, including participating animal shelters and rescues, along with details on local events, visit and the Spanish-language site  

Follow Clear The Shelters on social media: 
About Clear The Shelters Clear The Shelters™ / Desocupar Los Albergues® is an annual, nationwide pet adoption campaign that is spearheaded by NBCUniversal Local, a division of NBCUniversal. Every year, NBCUniversal Local’s NBC and Telemundo owned stations, plus affiliated stations, partner with animal shelters and rescues in their communities promote pet adoption and raise needed funds. NBCUniversal Local’s Clear The Shelters campaign was inspired by a 2014 North Texas pet adoption event hosted by NBC 5 / KXAS and Telemundo 39 / KXTX and dozens of area shelters that resulted in the most adopted pets in one day for North Texas. Since 2015, Clear The Shelters pet adoption campaign has resulted in more than 860,000 pet adoptions. Visit and for more information.    

MCASAC is operated by the 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, outreach and more, 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 per day to investigate complaints and respond to animal emergencies. For more information, visit