October 27, 2023

Message from the County Executive


Dear Friends,

Since the start of intense fighting in Israel and Gaza earlier this month, I have been asked several times for my reaction. It is a concern for many in our community because of loved ones in the region and in danger. I am proud of the positive relationships we have developed over the years with both Jewish and Muslim groups. In Montgomery County, we have seen all faith groups typically show strength and solidarity in opposition to atrocities. Our goal now is to stand together through these hard times. Whatever is happening over there, it does not mean we lose our collective community here. We all want to be safe and protect our kids from the kind of hate that leads to bullying, harassment and attacks.

When I was interviewed live this week on Fox 5, the first subject I was asked about was antisemitic graffiti found in a Gaithersburg neighborhood. Like a large majority of people in the community, I am horrified by these slurs. When things like this happen, we must be vocal as a community to let those responsible know we will not tolerate this kind of hateful rhetoric in our community.

The County Council and I this week expedited more than $300,000 in Nonprofit Security Grant funding to Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Zoroastrian houses of worship and schools, as well as to other community organizations. This money will provide immediate assistance for local organizations to invest in various security measures to protect their communities and facilities. Since the terror attacks in Israel, Montgomery County Police have increased its patrols and presence around houses of worship and gatherings.

I want to thank Ron Halber of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) for identifying this need and I thank the Montgomery County Muslim Council and JCRC for helping identify vulnerable locations.

I also want to thank the County Council for its support of this funding and thank County Government staff members who are working to get this money to recipients with as little red tape as possible.

We will not tolerate acts of hate by anyone. I hope all of us can grieve as we need to, but that we can also restrain ourselves from lashing out at neighbors and friends. I am determined do everything in my power to make sure that Montgomery County remains a safe place for all.

Economic Development Week

This is Economic Development Week across the State of Maryland. In Montgomery County, our economy is doing well. As I have detailed in previous newsletters, we have been able to achieve our lowest unemployment rate in more than 30 years.

We continue to make strides in opening the door to more companies looking to expand, relocate or create their business here. Last week, the Maryland Department of Commerce received a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to give the State a bigger footprint in the world economy. The money will be used to broaden international reach, help local companies create jobs and find new markets. Of the 32 Maryland companies receiving money, 16 of them are from Montgomery County. Many of them worked with County staff to apply for these funds.

The County also has been helping businesses through the early stages of development. We have been able to use our business incubators to help entrepreneurs develop the skills they need to bring their ideas to market. We are providing workforce training in collaboration with the Universities at Shady Grove, Montgomery College and WorkSource Montgomery, an organization that helps people starting out in their working lives and for those changing careers.  

These workforce training programs, our schools, our strong communities, the major Federal facilities located here and our highly educated population are among the many reasons bio-tech, information technology, cybersecurity and hospitality companies have been able to thrive here.

Our unique Ag Reserve and agricultural communities are part of our economic growth. The opening of The Crossvines in Poolesville earlier this year was an important part of our strategy to help make agriculture economically viable. The Crossvines is a grape-crush facility and home to a great new restaurant and events space.

I have been particularly excited about Crossvines because it grew out of a conversation I had more than 10 years ago with Kevin Atticks, who is now the Maryland Secretary of Agriculture. At the time, Kevin represented value-added agriculture industries and we talked about how grapes could be grown in our soil.

From there, I talked with Keith Miller at the Montgomery County Revenue Authority and the journey began. We have some great wineries already in the area and more are coming.

County Executive Marc Elrich meets with Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Kevin Atticks while touring Burnt Hill Farm

On Wednesday, I toured Burnt Hill Farm in Clarksburg with Secretary Atticks. We learned how this farm, with its biodynamic practices, can produce natural wine while also drawing in tourists. He and I believe in the benefit of value-added agriculture being produced in Montgomery County.

Montgomery County is home to a robust, diverse and talented group of entrepreneurs. From here, companies are connected to Federal agencies, many different funding opportunities and a network of life science and data driven companies. We continue to be home to one of the top school systems in the nation. There are many reasons why our economic opportunities should continue to grow, and Montgomery County is committed to helping those companies find their footing here. Check out our Business Center website for all ways we are here to help. 

Economic Missions to India and Vietnam

A key component to our potential economic development success is becoming a destination for international businesses.

Over the next two weeks, I will be going on economic development trade missions to India and Vietnam—two of the most robust and booming economies in the world. I will be joined by County Council President Evan Glass and County business leaders for these important trade missions. 

My goal is to find new ways for Montgomery County to partner with businesses in Vietnam and India. We are looking for opportunities to bring jobs, new technologies and new products to the County.

India and Vietnam are two important economic engines with already-established business and cultural ties to Montgomery County.

According to the most recent statistics from the Department of State, Indian investment in the United States totaled $12.7 billion, supporting more than 70,000 American jobs. As you can see from the chart above, nearly one-third of Indian investments are going toward the life sciences, pharmaceutical and health care industries. Montgomery County is the heart of the third-largest life science cluster in the nation, second-best in terms of workforce available and home to Federal institutions such as the FDA, the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. We are excited about the potential for new economic opportunities and partnerships.

Vietnam’s economy is currently booming. It is the fastest-growing economy in Asia with eight percent growth. Vietnam is now our nation’s eighth-largest trading partner.

I look forward to telling the people we will meet with on our trip about our partnership with the University of Maryland to create the Institute for Health Computing at the North Bethesda Metro Station. This institute will leverage recent advances in artificial intelligence and computing to increase speed and efficiencies in the creation and testing processes in the life science industries. This institute is on the cutting edge of innovation, and I expect that we will receive positive feedback like we heard when we went to Taiwan earlier this year. One thing I learned from my visit to Taipei is that Montgomery County already has a good reputation. I met many people who had studied here or lived in the States and had a sense of the work we do. Our reputation as a diverse, inclusive and safe community precedes us, and makes it a lot easier to promote Montgomery County.

We also will be promoting eight organizations that received ExportMD grants from the Maryland Department of Commerce to travel to these countries to find customers and/or suppliers. 

It makes a lot of sense to use the diversity we have in this County as a strength. Our Business Center, with support from the Maryland Department of Commerce, recently welcomed seven companies from Taiwan, Korea, France and Tanzania into our incubators. We are offering grant funding for international companies opening a lab or office in one of our business incubators. We also are able to navigate referrals to other resources in the County that businesses may need.

On my first trade mission, I was pleasantly surprised to meet so many people who knew of, or were already connected to, Montgomery County. I met many people who had studied here or lived in the United States and had a sense of the work we do. Our reputation as a diverse, inclusive and safe community precedes us and it makes it a lot easier to promote Montgomery County. I look forward to sharing more about my trip over the next two weeks on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.

Department of Permitting Services Adopts Residential Fast Track

Two changes within the Department of Permitting Services have led to significant improvements on the time it takes to get permits on some housing projects.

Residential Fast Track and an “Apply Online” portal have been credited with turning around some permit applications within days rather than the process lasting weeks. Projects must fit certain criteria to take advantage of the Fast Track program. Some of those projects that qualify include:
  • Fences.
  • Single-level decks.
  • Finishing basements and attics without structural changes and with a floor area of 400 square feet or less.
  • Installing sheds, gazebos and other detached non-habitable accessory structures that are 200 square feet or less.
  • Alterations not exceeding 400 square feet and not involving a load-bearing wall.
  • Remodeling bathrooms or kitchens less than 400 square feet.
  • Accessory ramps.
Residential Fast Track applications are overseen by dedicated permit technicians to ensure they are done quickly. Projects on properties with their own septic tanks need more consultation and cannot be expedited.

The County offered the Fast Track program prior to COVID-19 for walk-in customers only. Now we can offer it online and allow customers to take advantage of the easy application process.

Our customers have asked us for changes like this to make simple home projects easier to accomplish quickly. I am glad our Department of Permitting Services has been responsive to these requests.

October is Energy Action Month  

October is Energy Action Month, but in reality, we focus on these kinds of issues every week in my newsletter and across Montgomery County. It is a reminder that we all need to conserve energy, transition to cleaner energy sources and implement best practices and policies around energy use.

Buildings account for about half of current greenhouse gas emissions so changes within can make a big difference.

Two pieces of legislation that we recently passed to address energy usage are our Building Energy Performance Standards (or BEPS) and our Comprehensive Building Decarbonization law.

These new laws and regulations will help reduce energy use in existing large commercial buildings and residential buildings, as well as require all-electric building standards for new construction. You can see in the chart below about the benchmarking progress we have made and the gains we anticipate through 2024 in the number of buildings and amount of office space complying with higher standards.

As more of our electricity is coming from renewable sources like wind and solar, using electric appliances, instead of gas ones, is a key part of reducing pollution. Going electric at home entails the adoption of electric heating, cooking and cooling options. Replacing gas appliances with electric ones helps reduce or eliminate the use of fossil fuels like natural gas, propane and oil and improves air quality.    

Induction stoves deliver better performance than gas stove tops. Converting low-efficiency fossil fuel heating systems to high-efficiency electric heat pumps is a smart upgrade, too. Regardless of your fuel source, energy efficiency continues to be the cheapest, quickest and cleanest way to meet our energy needs and reduce utility bills.  

This may seem obvious, but electronics play a huge role in every family’s home energy usage. Everyone should realize unplugging electronics or using power strips to disconnect multiple items at once is environmentally friendly. Also consider using more energy efficient lightbulbs, using cold water to do the laundry, installing ceiling fans and insulating windows and doors. These ideas are easy to do, cheap and you will immediately see a reduction in your energy usage and lower energy bills.

My administration created a comprehensive Climate Action Plan to follow and the Climate Change Officer position to lead the implementation. On my weekly media briefing, I was proud to introduce Sarah Kogel-Smucker as our Climate Change Officer. Sarah has great experience for this work, and she also has a passion for it. She has already held similar positions in New York City and Washington D.C., and I am excited about the changes she can make to help our community.

The bottom line here is that addressing climate change is not something we as a government can do on our own, but we as a community can do together.

Holding Social Media Companies Accountable

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown announced this week that Maryland joined other states in suing social media platforms for their impact on the health and welfare of our homes and communities. Montgomery County filed a similar lawsuit against the giant tech companies in June. You can review that lawsuit by clicking here.

I am pleased that the Attorney General and State of Maryland are joining us in this fight. These social media companies were clearly deliberate and negligent in targeting and harming their consumers—especially children. We are still in the early stages of understanding the full impact on the health and welfare of heavy users of their products. It is clear that they must be held accountable for their actions.   

Here are some concerning statistics:
  • 97 percent of teenagers ages 13-17 have at least one social media account. 
  • People ages 16-24 spend an average of three hours on social media daily.  
  • Almost 25 percent of teens view social media as having a negative effect. 
Our lawsuit says, “By intentionally funneling youths into addictive habits through the continuous use and reliance on their products, these social media conglomerates have achieved breathtaking profits. But those profits come at a significant cost; the addictive behaviors that social media encourages—and, indeed, enables—has caused depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations, eating disorders, suicide attempts, and completed suicide among minors. Defendants knowingly exploited their most vulnerable users—children in Montgomery County and throughout the world—to drive corporate profit.” 

I want to thank Montgomery’s Office of the County Attorney for being proactive in pursuing this case. Like the cases holding the pharmaceutical companies responsible for the destruction caused by opioids, we want social media companies held accountable. 

COVID-19 Update

In COVID-19 news this week, local case rates saw a slight uptick over last week. Hospitalizations across Maryland also increased 25 percent over last week, with 26 COVID patients in the ICU and 247 in acute care beds. In Montgomery County, we saw a 40 percent increase in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, 15 more than last week.

It is the first time since we started riding the down wave of COVID-19 that we have seen our case rates and hospitalizations bounce back. Our health experts are keeping an eye on RSV and flu cases to see if they impact our hospitals. Early last fall, our medical community saw a quick rise in RSV and flu cases, straining our emergency rooms. That put our medical facilities in a tough position even before we began to see a winter wave of COVID-19 cases last December and January.   

That is one reason I join others in encouraging you to get a flu shot, COVID-19 booster and RSV vaccine if that is recommended for you. Our hospitals are not built to handle large swaths of people needing a bed. I hope you realize that boosters and vaccines help prevent you from getting gravely ill, but do not necessarily block you from getting sick all together. Visit vaccine.gov to find the nearest pharmacy or family health provider to get your shots.

Weekend Events

Button Farm in Germantown from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, will be celebrating its annual Maryland Emancipation Day Event. It took until 1864 for Maryland lawmakers to abolish slavery in the state. That came about six months before the end of the Civil War. The free event will feature speakers, self-guided tours of the farm and more. The event is put on by the Montgomery County Commission on Remembrance and Reconciliation. Visit buttonfarm.org for more information.

For those looking to fill their Halloween weekend with more fun, catch the Halloween Eye Spy Train before it is gone. The train is perfect for all ages and can be found at Cabin John Park from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. You can book tickets here.

In Wheaton, a weekend full of fun is in store for kids and adults. The Wheaton Arts & Entertainment District will be hosting a bar hop on Saturday that begins at 2 p.m. for anyone 21 and up. You must preregister and join the festive crowd at the Marian Fryer Town Plaza to participate. HalloWheaton will happen from noon-4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 29. Families can expect free s'mores roasting, pumpkin painting, costume contests, Halloween crafts, face-painting and photo opportunities.

As always, my appreciation for all of you,

Marc Elrich
County Executive

October 25, 2023

More Than $300,000 Provided to Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Zoroastrian Communities to Address Increased Security Measures

More Than $300,000 Provided to Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Zoroastrian Communities to Address Increased Security Measures

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and the County Council have expedited $311,700 in Nonprofit Security Grant funding to Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Zoroastrian communities in Montgomery County to enhance security measures. Since the outbreak of violence in Israel and Gaza, concern has risen that these communities have been, or will be, threatened by violence and other crimes motivated by hate and bias. These awards will provide immediate assistance to the organizations that are receiving funding to invest in various security measures to protect their communities and facilities.

“The conflict in the Middle East has created a heightened level of security concern in the Muslim and Jewish communities in Montgomery County,” said County Executive Elrich. “I have spoken with religious and community groups about the challenges they are facing, and the need to enhance security is paramount. As a result, I am expediting additional security funding. We will not tolerate acts of hate by anyone. I hope all of us can grieve as we need to, but that we can also restrain ourselves from lashing out at our neighbors and friends. What has happened abroad should not change how we interact with people here at home. I want to thank the community organizations, especially Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), for working with us to move this quickly. I am determined do everything in my power to make sure that Montgomery County remains a safe place for all.”

To view the full list of the organizations receiving funds, click here. Allocation of these funds will be in accordance with the existing Nonprofit Security Grant Program already approved by the Montgomery County Council.

“Montgomery County leaders are committed to doing everything we can to keep our residents safe and secure, especially in community gathering spaces and places of worship,” said County Council President Evan Glass. “Given the escalating tensions across the world related to the ongoing violence in the Middle East, the Nonprofit Security Grant Program is a critical part of our efforts to keep residents safe. Hate has no home in Montgomery County. Our community continues its steadfast commitment to acceptance, equity and inclusion. As one of the most diverse communities in the nation, we are united in our efforts to ensure that all our residents feel welcome, safe and seen.”

JCRC Executive Director Halber noted how quickly the County moved to free up this money.

"The JCRC of Greater Washington is grateful to County Executive Elrich and the Montgomery County Council for expediting the allocation of security dollars to institutions that are at even greater risk because of the war in Israel and Gaza," said Mr. Halber. "We are fortunate to be in a County where our elected leadership strongly prioritizes the safety of all its residents."

A statement from the Montgomery County Muslim Council (MCMC) Board of Directors also expressed gratitude for the assistance.

“In response to the disturbing rise in hate crimes, including Islamophobia, we appreciate the decisive and proactive measures taken by County Executive Marc Elrich and the County Council for recognizing the need for immediate funding to help protect faith-based institutions and other vulnerable groups," said the statement from MCMC. "It is imperative to ensure the safety and security of these spaces, where individuals come together to worship, find solace, and build community. We are hearing from too many in our community who have experienced first-hand bigotry and are afraid to be visible as Muslims for fear of physical or verbal abuse. MCMC and the Muslim community appreciate Montgomery County’s steadfast commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of all communities.”

For more information on the Montgomery County Nonprofit Security Grant program, visit https://mcmdgrants.smapply.org/prog/FY24NonprofitSecurity/

‘Residential Fast Track’ and ‘Apply Online’ Portal Will Lead to Some Permits Being Approved in Days Instead of Weeks

‘Residential Fast Track’ and ‘Apply Online’ Portal Will Lead to Some Permits Being Approved in Days Instead of Weeks

Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services (DPS) has improved its “Residential Fast Track” program and its “Apply Online” portal, creating changes that could lead to permits on some eligible projects being approved in days instead of weeks. The changes continue DPS initiatives that are making its building permit programs and services faster and easier to use for residents and businesses.

DPS has reenergized its Residential Fast Track program to ensure building permits are issued in one to two days for eligible projects, such as single-level decks and fences. The program previously was offered in-person as a walk-thru service, but was discontinued during the COVID-19 health crisis. It is now available online, and in some cases, permits for eligible projects that took weeks for approvals may now be completed in a few days as long as submitted applications have complete information. To make this happen, Residential Fast Track applications are tracked by a dedicated permit technician to ensure they are expedited.

For customers who are applying for deck, driveway apron, dumpster and fence permits, the revised Apply Online portal on the DPS website makes it more intuitive. Those permits are now listed as stand-alone permit types in the initial dropdown menu, simplifying the permitting process from the start.

“Streamlining the permitting process and providing excellent customer service are top priorities of my administration,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “These improvements reduce the number of steps in the application process and highlight our commitment and dedication to speeding up the permitting process. When we can make changes that literally turn the process for getting a permit into a few days rather than a few weeks, we are making improvements that our residents need.”

The projects eligible for Residential Fast Track include:
  • Fences.
  • Single-level decks.
  • Finishing basements and attics without structural changes and with a floor area of 400 square feet or less.
  • Installing sheds, gazebos and other detached non-habitable accessory structures that are 200 square feet or less.
  • Alterations not exceeding 400 square feet and not involving a load-bearing wall
  • Remodeling bathrooms or kitchens less than 400 square feet.
  • Accessory ramps.
A project must not be served by well or private septic system to be eligible for the Fast Track program.

A complete list of eligible projects for the Residential Fast Track program is available on the DPS website at montgomerycountymd.gov/dps. If a residential project qualifies for Fast Track, customers should visit the DPS website to use the Apply Online queue.

DPS Deputy Director Ehsan Motazedi said the changes to the Apply Online portal and Residential Fast Track programs make the process more efficient and effective, following the department’s continuing efforts to improve its services.

“We issue hundreds of deck, driveway and fence permits each year so these applicants will see a difference,” said Deputy Director Motazedi. “The Residential Fast Track program makes a difference because standard residential building applications can take up to four weeks compared to a few days for the Fast Track program. We continue to look for ways to improve and innovate our processes as we strive to become a world-class permitting department.”

DPS customers can apply and pay for permits, submit construction plans, request records, file property complaints, and schedule inspections online at any time. Customers who have permitting questions or need more information about the application process, should call MC 311 or 240-777-0311 or stop by DPS offices. No appointment is necessary to get in-person assistance. The customer service lobby, located at 2425 Reedie Drive (7th floor) in Wheaton, is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

For more information about the permitting process, visit the DPS website at montgomerycountymd.gov/dps.

Montgomery Sports Hall of Fame Will Induct 2023 New Inductees at Free to Attend Ceremonies on Sunday, Oct. 29

The Montgomery County Sports Hall of Fame (MCSHF) will induct its 2023 class of six new members on Sunday, Oct. 29, at the Silver Spring Civic Building in Downtown Silver Spring. The fifth class for the Hall of Fame includes legendary figures in their respective fields in Georgetown Prep football coach Jim Fegan, the late Gaithersburg High School football coach John Harvill, Paint Branch basketball star Tracy Jackson, Springbrook High and U.S. national team soccer player Joanna Lohman, tennis player Harold Solomon and television sportscaster Scott Van Pelt, who attended Sherwood High School.

The ceremonies on Oct. 29 will be free to attend. The Silver Spring Civic Building is located at 1 Veterans Place in Silver Spring. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the ceremonies will start at 6 p.m. Business or sports-themed attired is recommended.

The new class features County natives who have achieved at the national and international levels, as well as local figures who are among the best at what they have done in and for Montgomery County.

The Montgomery Sports Hall of Fame was created to honor the men and women that, through sports, have brought pride and honor to the County. The individuals honored are reflections of the dedication and devotion of many people who love sports. Nominations can be offered by any resident for consideration.

More information about the 2023 inductees is available at 2023 Class Announcement (mcshf.org).

More information about the Montgomery Sports Hall of Fame and its previous inductees can be found at Montgomery County Sports Hall of Fame – Building a Better Community Through Sports (mcshf.org).

This year’s class of inductees:
  • Jim Fegan was head football coach at Georgetown Prep in Rockville for 36 years. He won 236 games, including 14 league championships, and had nine unbeaten seasons. Fegan played high school football at Gonzaga and started his career as a youth coach at Blessed Sacrament in baseball, basketball and football. In 1961, he took over at Georgetown Prep and built a program that was respected throughout the Washington area. He retired as head coach in 1996, but continued as Georgetown Prep athletic director.
  • John Harvill was the head football coach at Gaithersburg High School for 44 years. When he retired in 2000, he was the winningest coach in Maryland history with 312 wins. That included two state titles and four undefeated seasons. Harvill grew up in Washington, D.C., and played football at Mckinley Tech. He joined the Army out of high school. After three years in the military, Harvill enrolled at the University of Maryland, where he played football. Also a standout in baseball, he played professionally for three years in the Red Sox organization. While coaching, he helped develop the statewide playoff system that Maryland implemented in 1974. The Gaithersburg Trojans now play at John Harvill Stadium. Harvill passed away in 2013.
  • Tracy Jackson was a high school All-American at Paint Branch High who chose Notre Dame after many college offers came his way. Jackson helped the Irish reach the NCAA Final Four in 1978 and the Elite Eight in 1979. He was drafted by the Celtics in 1981 and played in the NBA with Boston, Chicago and Indiana. After his playing career ended, Jackson was elected to a position on the Notre Dame board of trustees. He returned to Maryland to work as an insurance agent.
  • Joanna Lohman was a professional soccer player for 18 years. After starting her youth career with the Bethesda Scorpions, she was an All-Met player at Springbrook High in Silver Spring. At Penn State, she was selected as a first team Big Ten player all four years, the first player ever to achieve that distinction. She was a four-time academic All-American as well. Lohman played professionally in Philadelphia and Boston, as well as internationally in Spain and Sweden, but came back home for two stints with the Washington Freedom. She played her last four years with the Washington Spirit of the NWSL. She also played for the U.S. national team from 2001-07. The Spirit retired her jersey No. 15 in 2019.
  • Harold Solomon won 22 singles titles in his professional tennis career. The Springbrook High School graduate was ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation in his juniors career. He was a finalist at the 1976 French Open and was ranked in the top five in singles and doubles during his career. In 1980, Solomon became president of the Association of Tennis Professionals, the governing body of men’s tennis. He began coaching in the 1990s, working with Jim Courier, Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati. In 2005, he opened the Harold Solomon Tennis Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  • Scott Van Pelt is one of the most recognized sportscasters in the U.S. The Sherwood High School graduate attended the University of Maryland and then started his broadcasting career at Fox 5 in Washington. He was a host and anchor for The Golf Channel for five years, then went to ESPN in 2001. At the Worldwide Leader in Sports, he became a Sportscenter anchor, golf correspondent and ESPN Radio host. After living in Bristol, Ct., for most of his career, he moved back to the Washington area and anchors his late night Sportscenter broadcasts from studios here.

‘Find Your Boo’: Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center and FMCA Holding Fee-Waived Adoption Event Through Oct. 31 for Dogs More Than 40 Pounds

‘Find Your Boo’: Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center and FMCA Holding Fee-Waived Adoption Event Through Oct. 31 for Dogs More Than 40 Pounds

The Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC) is holding a fee-waived adoption event for dogs 40 pounds and over through Oct. 31. The “Find Your Boo” adoption event is sponsored by Friends of Montgomery County Animals (FMCA).

The shelter’s population of large dogs has increased. If more people do not adopt, the shelter will once more reach critical capacity, as it did over the summer. Adopters are urgently needed for medium and large dogs. If anyone is considering adding a pet to the family, now is the time. Adopting is easy and will be made even easier with no adoption fee during the special event.

“A lot of people think you need a fenced yard or a house to have a big dog, but they can be great apartment dogs.” Said MCASAC Community Relations Manager Maria Anselmo. “We have all types, from couch potatoes to hiking or running buddies.”

The adoption process can be started online by filling out the adoption questionnaire and sending in the required documents. The questionnaire, required documents and more information on the adoption process can be found at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/animalservices/adoption/howtoadopt.html.

Adopters also can visit the adoption center during open hours from noon-7 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and from noon-5 p.m. on weekends. Adoptions are processed on a first-come, first-served basis by appointment. Walk-in appointments are subject to counselor availability. Adoptions are same-day, so people should be prepared to take home an animal on the day of their appointment.

New animals regularly arrive at the shelter. People are encouraged to view adoptable animals at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/animalservices/adoption/index.html or visit the facility during open hours.

The Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC), which is operated by the Office of Animal Services, 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 to investigate complaints and respond to animal emergencies 24 hours a day. For more information visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/animalservices

Information About Fire Code Compliance and Fire Safety Tips Featured on New Podcast of Department of Permitting Services

Information About Fire Code Compliance Permits and Fire Safety Tips Featured on Newest Podcast of Department of Permitting Services

The eighth episode of the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services (DPS) Podcast series, “Fire Code Compliance and Safety,” features important information for commercial property owners, commercial tenants and even residents sitting around a backyard fire pit about fire code compliance (FCC) and fire safety.

“October is also known as Fire Prevention Month in Montgomery County and safety is a top priority at the Department of Permitting Services,” said DPS Customer Support and Outreach Division Chief Gail Lucas, who hosts the podcast. “This podcast episode provides information for both commercial property owners and commercial tenants about fire code compliance permits. We explain the permitting process from who needs one to how do you renew your permit and remind listeners to check their home smoke alarms to make sure they are operable. In addition, we share guidance and tips for gathering around a fire pit and even how to get a permit for a bonfire.”

The Department of Permitting Services podcast is now available on the DPS website and various podcast platforms including Amazon, Apple and Spotify. It also is available at https://permittingservicespodcast.buzzsprout.com/. Subscribe to the podcast by tapping the “plus” or “follow” sign on the podcast provider’s platform.

Joining host Lucas for the discussion is DPS FCC manager Patsy Warnick.

“A lot of people may not know that the Fire Code Compliance team is now part of the Department of Permitting Services,” said FCC Manager Warnick. “Our No. 1 priority is inspecting commercial and residential multifamily buildings to make sure they are safe. We have a team of 13 inspectors who check a wide variety of buildings from family childcare homes to businesses in high-rise buildings. Our mission is to ensure the space is safe for occupants and visitors. We check a variety of things from making sure the lighting is appropriate to ensuring exits are not blocked.”

According to Warnick, business and property owners can apply for FCC permits on the DPS website at montgomerycountymd.gov/dps. She said renewal notices are typically emailed to customers.

Other topics covered during the podcast include the difference between fire alarm systems and home smoke alarms, sprinklers in high-rise buildings and pending code adoptions.

For more information and resources, visit the Fire Code Compliance webpage on the DPS website. Customers may also reach out to DPS staff by calling MC 311 or 240-777-0311.

Previous podcast episodes have covered building safety, deck permits, commercial building trends, what business owners need to know about use and occupancy certificates, fence permits, the public right-of-way, septic systems, urban farming and zoning.

Residents are encouraged to send questions and ideas for future podcast episodes to dps.podcast@montgomerycountymd.gov.

The Department of Permitting Services is located at 2425 Reedie Drive, 7th Floor in Wheaton. The customer service lobby is open from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday. Appointments are not necessary to get in-person assistance.

Montgomery County Bike Drive Collects Nearly 300 Bicycles

Montgomery County Bike Drive Collects Nearly 300 Bicycles

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is connecting people in the County who have a bike to donate with people who need one. On Friday, Oct. 20, MCDOT collected 290 bicycles at its annual one-day bike collection event in Rockville.

MCDOT sponsored the collection of child and adult bikes in partnership with Rockville Bike Hub and Bikes for the World. Volunteers from the organizations will refurbish the bikes and place them with children and adults in need through Bikes for the World, the MCDOT Bike Match Program and the Rockville Terrific Kids program.

This was the fifth year that MCDOT sponsored a bike drive (no events were held during two years of the COVID-19 health crisis). In those five years, the drives have resulted in the collection of more than 1,050 bikes.

MCDOT operates a bike match program year-round through the BikeMatchMoCo program. Bikes donated through BikeMatchMoCo must be in ready-to-ride condition and should be cleaned and sanitized before drop-off.

Residents who wish to donate or receive a bike can do so by filling out the online form on MCDOT’s BikeMatchMoCo website. Once a donated bike has been matched to a recipient, a MCDOT representative will facilitate the donation and pickup. The bike donation deliveries are conducted separately, and all information is confidential.

Montgomery College ‘Harvest Fest’ on Rockville Campus on Saturday, Oct. 28, Will Have Family Fun and Information About College Classes and Scholarships

Montgomery College ‘Harvest Fest’ on Rockville Campus on Saturday, Oct. 28, Will Have Family Fun and Information About College Classes and Scholarships

Montgomery College will host “Harvest Fest,” from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on its Rockville campus on Saturday, Oct. 28. The free event for residents of all ages will include an art show, dancing, a coding demonstration, a DJ, ice cream and a raffle. There also be information about Montgomery College classes, offerings, scholarships and financial assistance programs.

The event will be in the Mannakee Building Parking Lot of the Rockville campus, which is located at 900 Hungerford Dr.

Additional kids events will include face painting, pumpkin decoration, games and an opportunity to pose for a photo with Monty, Montgomery College’s raptor mascot.

There will be information available about Workforce Development and Continuing Education offerings, such as information technology, cosmetology, real estate, youth programs, early childhood education, automotive technology and building trades.

For residents seeking information in Spanish, the College’s Hispanic Business Institute and the Early Childhood Education program will have Spanish-speaking representatives on site to answer questions.

The event will be held rain or shine.

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

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

Montgomery County’s Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) and UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO, in conjunction with County Executive Marc Elrich, are supporting the “Labor of Love Initiative” benefiting March of Dimes. The campaign will take place Oct. 29-Nov. 19.

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

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

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

The March of Dimes approach:
  • Fund and support innovative research to solve the biggest problems in maternal and infant health.
  • Advocate for prioritization our nation’s moms and babies and action to improve their health.
  • Educate and help every family have healthy pregnancies regardless of wealth, race, gender, or geography.
“For more than 80 years, the March of Dimes has been improving the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature births and lowering infant mortality rates,” said County Executive Elrich. “I want to thank ABS and MCGEO for teaming up to support the March of Dimes through their ‘Labor of Love’ campaign. In addition to the health and safety benefits ABS provides Montgomery County through safe alcohol distribution, we are proud of the contributions of ABS employees through volunteering, fundraising and supporting nonprofit partners like the March of Dimes.”

The U.S. remains one of the most dangerous developed countries to give birth. Two women die from pregnancy related issues each day, two babies die every hour in the U.S. and one in 10 is born too soon. Learn more about March of Dimes at www.marchofdimes.org/.

ABS is the alcohol wholesaler of beer, wine and spirits for Montgomery County and operates 27 retail stores throughout the County. In addition, ABS manages alcohol licensing, enforcement and education for more than 1,000 businesses. Generating more than $35 million in net income annually, its profits are used to pay down County debt with a large portion deposited in the general fund to pay for resident services that would otherwise be funded by County tax dollars. Follow ABS on Facebook and Twitter.

Community Overdose Action Town Hall Set for Thursday, Nov. 2, in Rockville

Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center (OOCC), in partnership with Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), will host a town hall on Thursday, Nov. 2, to hear ideas from residents on how Maryland can address the opioid crisis. The event will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. in the third floor hearing room of the Montgomery County Council Office Building, which is located at 100 Maryland Ave in Rockville.

The town hall will also be livestreamed on County Cable Montgomery and on several Facebook accounts, including Maryland's Before Its Too Late and DHHS.

Emily Keller, Maryland’s special secretary of opioid response, and the Maryland Opioid Operational Command Center have hosted town halls throughout the State for the past several months to hear about the impact opioids are having on communities. Joining Secretary Keller will be County and State officials including Alyssa Lord, deputy secretary for behavioral health with the Maryland Department of Health and Montgomery County Health Officer Kisha Davis.

“Like many communities across Maryland, Montgomery County has been impacted by the opioid crisis,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “We appreciate the sense of urgency that Secretary Keller and the Moore-Miller administration have and their desire to hear about the challenges facing communities. We have been working hard on addressing the issue here, but we cannot do it alone and we welcome the partnership with the State. I encourage residents to attend.”

Information about County programs and services will be available at resource tables from 6-6:30 p.m. On-the-spot training also will be offered on how to use Naloxone, the nasal spray used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The listening session will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Attendees of the town hall will have an opportunity to speak and share their ideas on supporting people with substance use disorders, and for preventing overdoses in Montgomery County.

The event is open to the public, but advanced registration is highly recommended. The registration form includes information on signing up to make public comments. Registered speakers will have two minutes and will be called on to provide their comments.

Anyone needing a sign language interpreter or services to participate is asked to make those requests with as much advance notice as possible. Organizers would like to have at least three full business days in advance of the meeting to plan. Requests can be made by contacting Stella Sharif at 240-777-1603 or by sending an email to stella.sharif-chikiar@montgomerycountymd.gov. Last minute requests will be accepted but may not be possible to fulfill.

The OOCC is Maryland’s principal coordinating office for addressing the opioid and overdose crisis. The OOCC works to increase collaboration at the State and local level to promote access to compassionate, person-centered care by supporting substance-use programming across five pillars: prevention, harm reduction, treatment, recovery, and public safety.

For more information about how Montgomery County is addressing the opioid epidemic, visit KnowTheRisksMC.org.

Visit Maryland's Before Its Too Late website for information on the State's strategy for reducing overdose deaths.

Rockville City Police to Host Spooktacular ‘Boo-Vie’ Night on Friday, Oct. 27, with Free Family Friendly Outdoor Double Feature

The City of Rockville Police will be hosting their first free Halloween “Boo-Vie” Night with a double feature of the family friendly It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown followed by Hocus Pocus shown on a big movie screen starting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27. The special event, which will include complimentary food and treats, will be held at Fallsgrove Park at the Thomas Farm Community Center.

All attendees are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes and to arrive early for the lawn seating, which will open at 6 p.m. The Thomas Farm Community Center is located at 700 Fallsgrove Dr. in Rockville.

Those going to Boo-Vie Night are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair to better enjoy the movies.

The event will have complimentary pizza, popcorn, treats and more while supplies last.

In the event of rain, the Boo-Vie Night will be held on Sat, Oct. 28. The Facebook page of the City of Rockville’s Police Department will have updates in case of inclement weather.

‘Glow-in-the-Dark Pickleball,’ Enchanted Evening Dance and Floating Pumpkin Patches Highlight Recreation October Special Events

A variety of fall harvest festivals and Halloween-themed happenings highlight Montgomery County Recreation’s calendar of special family-friendly events in October. The events will include “Glow-in-the-Dark” pickleball, floating pumpkin patches and a therapeutic enchanted dance.

Registration for events can be completed online at ActiveMONTGOMERY.org. Not all events require registration. Registration for fall programs is also currently underway. Winter program registration begins Monday, Nov. 13.

The schedule of Montgomery Recreation October special events will include:
  • Saturday, Oct. 28. 1-3 p.m. Therapeutic Recreation Family Spooktacular Saturday. Holiday Park Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Drive, Silver Spring. This event is for individuals with disabilities and their families. Dress up in your favorite costume and trick-or-treat in our not-so-spooky haunted house. Family-friendly games and fun.
  • Saturday, Oct. 28. 5-8 p.m. Fall Festival. Potomac Community Recreation Center, 11315 Falls Road, Potomac. Festival will have family fun and games including costume contests, trunk or treat, fall crafts and more.
  • Saturday, Oct. 28. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Therapeutic Recreation Enchanted Evening Dance. Holiday Park Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Drive, Silver Spring. For ages 15 and over with disabilities. Enjoy a DJ, dancing, games, pizza and other refreshments. Registration is encouraged. Come dressed as your favorite enchanted character.
  • Sunday, Oct. 29. 4-6 p.m. Haunted House. Clara Barton Neighborhood Recreation Center, 7425 MacArthur Blvd., Cabin John. Wear your costume and bring your Halloween spirit to walk the spooky haunted house. Free for all ages. Light refreshments will be provided.
  • Sunday, Oct. 29, 3-8:30 p.m. and Monday, Oct. 30, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Glow in the Dark Pickleball. Bauer Drive Community Recreation Center, 14625 Bauer Drive, Rockville. A Halloween pickleball monster smash. “Halloweenies” and “Toxic Sludge” tickets will be served. There will also be boo-tacular prizes and giveaways.
  • Monday, Oct. 30. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Wheaton Skele-bration. Wheaton Community Recreation Center. 11701 Georgia Ave., Wheaton. Come dressed in your favorite costume for spooky treats and Halloween-themed crafts. Registration required.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 31. 5-8 p.m. Fall Harvest Festival. Bette Carol Thompson Scotland Neighborhood Recreation Center, 7700 Scotland Drive, Potomac. Family fun including a costume contest, arts and crafts, giveaways and more.
  • Throughout October: Floating Pumpkin Patches. Pumpkin picking in Montgomery Recreation pools. For $5, Kids 2-12 will pick a pumpkin and enjoy a decorating craft. Swimming with your pumpkin will be available in the first hour. Decorating and crafts will be available throughout the event. Children 5 and under require an adult in the water with them. One pumpkin per participant. Events will take place at:
    • Saturday, Oct. 28. 10-11:30 a.m. Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center, 5900 Executive Blvd., North Bethesda.
    • Sunday, Oct. 29. 10-11:30 a.m. Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center, 5900 Executive Blvd., North Bethesda *This event is for kids 2-15 with disabilities and their families.

‘Eye Spy Train Rides’ and ‘Frankenskate’ Highlight Upcoming Montgomery Parks Special Events

‘Eye Spy Train Rides’ and ‘Frankenskate’ Highlight Upcoming Montgomery Parks Special Events

“Eye Spy Train Rides” and a “Frankenskate” highlight the upcoming events that will be hosted by Montgomery Parks

The schedule of special events produced by Montgomery Parks will include:
  • Halloween Eye Spy Train Rides. Saturdays and Sundays during October. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Cabin John Miniature Train, 7410 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda, and Wheaton Miniature Train and Ovid Hazen Wells Carousel, 2002 Shorefield Road, Wheaton. Tickets are now on sale for the rides through “Trainsylvania” with your Eye Spy card to look for seasonal objects along the tracks during the ride. Purchase tickets for Cabin John train. Purchase tickets for Wheaton train. A small number of tickets will be available for purchase onsite, but ride times will not be guaranteed. $6.
  • Frankenskate. Saturday, Oct. 28. 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Ridge Road Recreational Park, 21155 Frederick Road, Germantown. Halloween-themed roller skate. BYO skates and costumes. Music, lawn games and treats included. All ages. Free (food and drink available for purchase).
To view all Fall 2023 activities, visit the 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.

Nocturnal Animal Days and Costumed ‘Witchy Paddle’ on Little Seneca Lake Will Be Featured Weekend Events at Nature Centers

Nocturnal Animal Days on Oct. 27-29 at the Locust Grove Nature Center in Bethesda and the “Witchy Paddle” adventure on Little Seneca Lake on Saturday, Oct. 28, are among the special activities that will be hosted by the nature centers of Montgomery Parks in October.

The special events schedule will include:
  • Nocturnal Animal Days. Friday-Sunday, Oct. 27–29. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Locust Grove Nature Center, 7777 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda. Bats, owls, snakes and insects seem spooky and scary—but really are not. Nocturnal animals have cool adaptations that allow them to master the darkness. Join this spooktacular weekend to celebrate these “superheroes” of the night. Registration required. All ages. Free.
  • Witchy Paddle. Saturday, Oct. 28. 5-7:30 p.m. Black Hill Nature Programs, 20926 Lake Ridge Drive, Boyds. A costumed paddle of Little Seneca Lake. Must bring your own boat (or paddleboard, kayak or canoe) and appropriate paddle and safety gear. Meet up at 5 p.m., Witchy Paddle begins at 5:30 p.m. with the campfire at 6:30 p.m. Registration required. Free.
To view all Fall 2023 activities, visit the 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.

Wheaton to Kick Off Halloween Weekend with Inaugural ‘HalloWheaton’ Bar Hop for Adults on Saturday, Oct. 28, and Free Family-Oriented Events on Sunday, Oct. 29

Montgomery County’s Wheaton Arts & Entertainment District will celebrate Halloween with themed events for adults, children and families on Saturday, Oct. 28, and Sunday, Oct. 29. “HalloWheaton” kicks off with Wheaton’s first-ever trick-or-treating themed bar hop for adults (ages 21 and older) from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday. The festivities continue from noon-4 p.m. on Sunday with family events including Halloween crafts, s'mores roasting, pumpkin painting and costume contests. All “HalloWheaton” events begin at Marian Fryer Town Plaza, located adjacent to 2424 Reedie Drive.

“One more reason to go to Wheaton this weekend—Halloween activities for all ages,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Whether you are an adult wanting to explore Wheaton's bars and restaurants at our inaugural ‘bar hop’ on Saturday or a family seeking free, spooky activities on Sunday—‘HalloWheaton’ offers lots of fun. Thank you to the Wheaton Arts & Entertainment District for organizing these events; come join us for ‘HalloWheaton.’”

“HalloWheaton” Bar Hop (21 and older). Saturday, Oct. 28, 2-5 p.m. Free. WheatonMD.org

The Wheaton Arts & Entertainment District and Urban District have partnered with Yelp to host an adults-only bar hop to showcase the bars and eateries in Wheaton. Adults participate by pre-registering and visiting Marian Fryer Town Plaza from to 2-5 p.m. to pick up a free “HalloWheaton” goodie bag (HalloWheaton mug, shot glass and coaster). Attendees then walk around on their own to enjoy the drink and food specials at participating Wheaton bars. While the official event has limited hours, special deals are available throughout the day and evening at participating businesses. (Food and drink costs are the patron’s responsibility.)

Participating venues include:
  • Terra Mare Restaurant and Bar
  • Q’Viva Cocina and Lounge
  • The Limerick Pub
  • Hakuna Matata Grill
  • Song y Sazon
  • Q’ Padre
  • Crossroads Two Restaurant & Lounge and
  • Unplugged Restaurant and Sports Bar.
Click here for information about these venues and to view a self-guided map.

“HalloWheaton” (family-oriented events). Sunday, Oct. 29, noon-4 p.m. Free. WheatonMD.org

The event will include free s'mores roasting, pumpkin painting, costume contests, Halloween crafts, face-painting and photo ops. This is the third annual “HalloWheaton” event at Marian Fryer Town Plaza, located adjacent to 2424 Reedie Drive. Adult activities will include a beer garden, fire pits, yard games and a zombie trailer.

Other Halloween activities in Wheaton include the free Westfield Wheaton Boo Bash from noon-3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 29, with on-site trick or treating, cupcake decorating and a Halloween-themed Eye Spy Train. Ride aboard the miniature train at Wheaton Regional Park from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 28-29.