March 29, 2024

Message from the County Executive Marc Elrich


Dear Friends,

Our State and our nation mourn for the families of those killed in in this week’s deadly bridge collapse in Baltimore caused by a ship hitting the bridge. Our thoughts are with our friends, fellow Marylanders and all those impacted by this horrific situation.

Just hours into the response, President Joe Biden spoke about the tragedy and the importance of the port is to our nation. He pledged financial support to rebuild the bridge quickly. It is the largest shipping hub in the U.S. for automobiles and the 11th largest overall. 

We have also received constant updates from Maryland Governor Wes Moore since Monday morning on the urgency of the situation. A workforce of 8,000 people who directly depend on the reopening of Baltimore Harbor need our support. If you would like to contribute to the Key Bridge Emergency Response Fund, visit the Baltimore Civic Fund website.

I am glad that we have seen strong leadership at all levels of government in response to this emergency. Let’s hope for the continued safety of everyone involved in the recovery effort.

Economic Development and Environment Primary Focus of Trip to Taiwan

I was in Taiwan last week and was joined by County Council Vice President Kate Stewart, the director of the County’s Department of Environmental Protection Jon Monger and Judy Costello, a County special projects manager for business matters specializing in innovation and economic development. 

You can see pictures from our trip on Montgomery County’s Flickr page.

This is the second year that I was invited to speak at the Smart City Summit and Expo about the County’s climate action initiatives, and we again used the trip to also focus on economic development opportunities. We met with companies and academic institutions interested in expanding into the U.S. market and locating in Montgomery County.   

The companies we met with were particularly interested in Maryland’s Soft Landing Program for Foreign Companies. The biotech companies and the universities were particularly interested in our new University of Maryland Institute for Health Computing in North Bethesda. 

While visiting with government leaders, including the mayors of Taipei and New Taipei City, I was able to see how communications and technology are being used to improve the lives of their residents.  

We once again met several academic and government leaders who have lived in Montgomery County or studied in Maryland. They spoke highly of how the Asian community is treated and welcomed here. Our highly educated and diverse workforce, plus our location near the nation’s capital and many federal agencies, is valued by business leaders overseas.  

I believe this latest trip will lead to more economic opportunities as happened after our economic development missions last year to India, Taiwan and Vietnam. This week, I met with one businessman from Taiwan who told me how excited he is to participate in one of the County’s business incubators in Rockville. I look forward to seeing these connections turn into new jobs and opportunities.

April is ‘Earth Month’

Montgomery County’s theme for our “Earth Month” activities, events and communications in April is “Act Now.” Those are two simple words that demand immediate attention and action.   

I have been an activist on behalf of our climate for more than half a century and have been saying “Act Now” for quite a while.

Local governments are on the front lines of defense against the impacts of climate change. We are doing this through investments, through policies and, most importantly, through action. The County continues to expand waste reduction and recycling programs and to modernize our recycling facility at the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station in Derwood to ensure it is efficient and user-friendly. Our goal is to dramatically reduce our waste stream and monetize that waste stream by recovering as much as possible and finding uses for those materials.

We are also working to make our buildings and transportation less of a burden on the environment. Our Department of Environmental Protection has been gearing up for the tracking of energy use and planning for energy improvements that will take place eventually in more than 1,900 buildings countywide. We also are transitioning our bus fleet from fossil fuel-based to solar-powered electric and green hydrogen.  

We are making progress locally, but climate change continues to be a real, human-made, significant threat to the continuation of our species and way of life. We remain in a climate crisis and frankly, conditions continue to worsen beyond the early projections of what might happen. Predictions made in the past about the oceans rising by inches have been proven wrong. We are now seeing those actual measurements made in feet.

Governments like ours are forced to spend hundreds of millions of dollars yearly in response to the damage done by major fossil fuel companies and more than 100 years of unsustainable behavior.

The really sad thing is that the executives of the fossil fuel industry lied about what they knew about climate change, going back more than 40 years. They spent hundreds of millions of dollars to convince people that there was nothing to worry about, attacking and discrediting scientists who were discovering what Exxon and other oil companies had already learned from their scientists. 

Instead of acting responsibly, the fossil fuel companies insisted that consumers could go on as before, even though their own studies showed that there was a lot to worry about. Now they take no responsibility for the disaster they created, and residents have to pick up the tab. Unless and until there is the political will to require that these companies bear the cost of our mitigation efforts, residents here and throughout the country are stuck with the growing cost of fixing things. It is not fair, but we are faced with no choice but to use our own resources to address the problems that these companies created.

Last year, the journal, Science, published research from Exxon’s own scientists and compared it to what has occurred over time. The analysis (charted above) demonstrated as far back as 1977 Exxon knew the long-term impacts of climate change, but the company continued to cast doubt long after that.

Our ability as a community to work together to fight climate change is imperative. All of you who have seen the increased flooding here in the County are experiencing the climate consequences firsthand, and our large investments in stormwater control will continue to grow as we have to expand the capacity of our sewer system to control stormwater.  

In short, we have to deal with climate change on two fronts. We have to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to lessen future impacts, and we have to invest in mitigating the impacts we are already experiencing. Had this country and other nations responded a decade or more ago to what we were told was going to happen, we might have avoided the need for mitigation at this point and averted some really bad future outcomes. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

In many respects, Montgomery County has taken the lead in combatting climate change. We have made monumental steps forward through our Climate Action Plan, but there is still a long way to go to reduce emissions 80 percent by 2027 and 100 percent by 2035.

We need more company on this journey. Montgomery County alone will not be able to roll back climate change. Strategies need to be implemented at the national level and efforts by the State and Federal governments are a welcome step in the right direction. As they would have said in my logic class, the steps are necessary, but not sufficient at this point.

As we begin Earth Month on Monday, I encourage everyone to get involved and discover what can be done to be carbon-neutral at home.

I am looking forward to our Department of Environmental Protection’s “GreenFest 2024” event on Saturday, April 27, at the Blackrock Center for the Arts in Germantown. It is the largest annual environmental festival in the County. It brings together the public and our nonprofit partners to celebrate, learn and act to help us make this a greener County.

This year’s Energy Summit is being held on April 15 and 16 in Silver Spring. It is an excellent opportunity for business and community leaders to learn the latest about energy efficiency, renewable energy and much more.

Visit to sign up and learn more about the Energy Summit. The County and our vibrant businesses and organizations also are hosting many other engaging and inspiring Earth Month activities that you can join and enjoy.

New Chapter for Sodexo

We celebrated the ribbon cutting this week of Sodexo’s new North American headquarters in North Bethesda.

Sodexo is one of the world’s largest employers with 435,000 people on the payroll worldwide. The company, which handles catering, facilities management and employee benefits for 80 million consumers every day, had been in Gaithersburg for the last 26 years. This move shows how times are changing and corporate needs are evolving.

The development is centered in the heart of a growing area populated by world-class corporations and serviced by Metro, Ride On and other forms of modality.

The County is proud to have Sodexo. We appreciate its commitment to Montgomery County with this investment and its continued support of our community. The group Montgomery County Business Leaders Fighting Hunger launched eight years ago. Company leaders from Sodexo and Burness founded it to tackle hunger issues. They led the effort to fund grants, which were awarded to community partners responding to food security issues.

The company’s Stop Hunger Foundation is focused on ending childhood hunger. It has granted more than $2 million toward food resiliency efforts in Montgomery County.

Sodexo’s values of promoting diversity, inclusion and opportunity have always, and will continue, to fit in perfectly in Montgomery County. I wish Sodexo success in its new home.

Montgomery Among the Healthiest Counties in the Nation

Montgomery County once again ranks among the healthiest counties in the nation in the annual County Health Rankings report. There are many socioeconomic and public health-related benchmarks hit by our County, but the report also indicates areas that we must improve to ensure everyone shares in the opportunity for a long and healthy life.

Highlights from the report include some of the lowest rates of premature death in the country. Residents also benefit from a higher life expectancy than the average in Maryland and in the United States. Montgomery County scores were boosted by a lower percentage of smokers and a higher rate of physical activity among residents. Additionally, our area benefits from having a higher ratio of doctors, dentists and mental health providers than the average American county.

Environmental health is also a positive in Montgomery County. Scores reflect continued progress in the reduction of air pollution in our community. I expect those favorable scores to continue as we finalize regulations and more companies adopt them. Infrastructure improvements continue to address water pollution to limit the impact on our drinking water.

Montgomery County will continue to score positive marks when it comes to high accessibility to exercise opportunities. For the second consecutive year, we have helped families by offering free gym passes at recreation centers across the area.

Although in many areas, we are doing well--and we still have challenges. For instance, one in four residents are considered obese. Alcohol-impaired driving deaths continue to kill too many people in our community. And affordable housing continues to be a struggle for too many families.

We must recognize that there continue to be disparities, especially in our communities, of color. We cannot ignore these disparities within our community and must work to break down inequities so that everyone can enjoy these health benefits.

Our civic infrastructure has helped us stand out as an ideal place in the nation. We will continue to strengthen that asset and ensure that it is working equally for everyone who calls Montgomery County home.

I encourage you to look through the latest CHR rankings at

Health Update

On the health front, COVID-19 and respiratory illnesses continue to be on the decline. There was a good turnout at a school-age vaccination clinic held today at the Dennis Avenue Health Center in Silver Spring. Vaccines work.

There is a national and worldwide rise in measles cases—particularly in young children. Measles cases are rare in Montgomery County and in Maryland. It and many other childhood diseases are preventable with vaccinations. Make sure your child is up to date on required vaccinations and take advantage of vaccination clinics when they are offered. There will be more in the coming months in preparation for the next school year.

Spring in Montgomery County

With the start of spring, there are many things to do around Montgomery County. Please check out this Visit Montgomery page that lists places to see and experience around the County this spring.

I hope all MCPS families had a wonderful spring break week. And for residents and their families celebrating Easter this weekend, I wish you safe and joyous gatherings.

As always, my appreciation for all of you,

Marc Elrich
County Executive

March 27, 2024

Design of a New ‘Action Sports Park’ in Wheaton Regional Park Will Be Focus of Virtual Meeting on Wednesday, April 3

Design of a New ‘Action Sports Park’ in Wheaton Regional Park Will Be Focus of Virtual Meeting on Wednesday, April 3

Montgomery Parks is in the early design stage of a new “Action Sports Park” at the Rubini Athletic Complex in Wheaton Regional Park. Two design concepts will be shared at the virtual community meeting from 7-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3. The goal of the Action Sports Park will be to deliver safe, inclusive and engaging action sports experiences that serve a diversity of ages and skill levels from beginner to advanced.

Feedback from the community meeting and an online survey will help further refine the design. The online survey is available now and will close on May 12.

The action amenities currently proposed for the park include a skate park, bike pump track, bike skills course, extreme fitness and bouldering and kids wheeled play areas. The new park will offer more than just thrills. Alongside action amenities, it will feature areas for socializing like spectating terraces and rest spots and environmental enhancements.

“The Action Sports Park, a key project from the Wheaton Regional Park Master Plan, was guided by community feedback and recommendations collected during the Countywide Skate Park Study,” said Matt Weir, project manager and landscape architect.

To join the online meeting via Zoom, go to Registration for the online meeting is optional, but encouraged. Attendees will be updated on future developments in the project. Register by completing this form.

Take the survey about the proposed park at online survey.

To learn more about the Wheaton Regional Action Sports Park, visit the project page.

Annual Health Rankings Show Montgomery Among Healthiest Counties in Maryland and the United States

Annual Health Rankings Show Montgomery Among Healthiest Counties in Maryland and the United States

Montgomery County is one of healthiest counties in Maryland and in the United States, according to the annual County Health Rankings (CHR). The 2024 report does not provide a ranking for each county within a state, but does show metrics on how a county’s health outcomes and underlying factors are relative to other counties in their state and with nationwide metrics.

The CHR, a collaboration of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, annually compares counties within each state on more than 30 factors that impact health. The factors include social determinants such as education, jobs, housing, exercise and commuting times.

“I am proud that we continue to be ranked among the healthiest counties in Maryland and in the United States, and I appreciate that the report acknowledged the importance of civic infrastructure, including broadband access, libraries and equity,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “We should acknowledge that we do have areas that we can improve but with our County health officials, hospitals, community based nonprofit health providers and other stakeholders working together, I know that improving health outcomes for our community’s residents remains a priority.”

Highlights from the 2024 report include:
  • Montgomery County has some of the lowest rates of premature death (from any cause), and higher life expectancy than the average in Maryland and the U.S. However, disparities continue to exist across racial and ethnic populations within the County.
  • Montgomery County has many healthier behaviors, including a lower percentage of adults who smoke, are obese or report being physically inactive, than most other jurisdictions across Maryland and the U.S.
  • Montgomery County has significantly lower teen birth rates.
  • Montgomery County has a higher ratio of primary care physicians, dentists and mental health providers per resident than Maryland and U.S. averages.
  • Montgomery County has higher vaccination rates and fewer preventable hospital stays than most jurisdictions.
  • Montgomery County has seen continued progress in reduction of air pollution.
Additionally, the County has many social and economic factors that rank better than state and national averages. These factors include median income, education, high school graduation rates, unemployment rates, deaths from injury—including motor vehicle crash rates, homicide and suicide rates, voter turnout and census participation.
  • Low rates of physical inactivity—Montgomery County has a 17 percent rate of physical inactivity, compared to Maryland at 21 percent and the United States at 23 percent.
  • High accessibility to exercise opportunities—Montgomery County has a 100 percent rate, compared to Maryland at 92 percent and the United States at 84 percent.
  • Low rates of alcohol-impaired driving deaths—Montgomery County has a 24 percent rate, compared to Maryland at 29 percent.
  • Low rates of uninsured residents--only 7 percent of Montgomery County residents are uninsured, compared to the United States at 10 percent.
Several factors influence how well and how long people live. These include behavioral habits such as physical activity, nutrition and smoking. Other factors reflect those from the built environment, such as access to affordable housing and well-paying jobs.

“We are excited to see that Montgomery County continues to rank as one of the healthiest communities in Maryland and the U.S.,” said Kisha Davis, County health officer. “The report highlights the benefits of healthy behaviors, access to healthcare, high rates of physical activity and social connectedness as protective factors in our community. This is an achievement to be celebrated. And while we celebrate this success, we also recognize that there continue to be disparities, especially in our communities of color. We continue to work to break down inequities so that everyone can enjoy these health benefits.”

To see the full report, visit the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps website.

Businesses Looking to Grow Through Exports Can Benefit Through ExportMD Grants

Businesses Looking to Grow Through Exports Can Benefit Through ExportMD Grants

Maryland businesses looking to grow through exports can seek customers, suppliers, manufacturers or academic partners in travel that may be supported through a Maryland Department of Commerce ExportMD Grant. The program, which can provide reimbursement for up to $5,000 for eligible expenses, is accepting applications through April 1 for travel in May. 

Traditionally, many companies use the grants to offset travel expenses related to international marketing. However, the funds can be applied for other marketing initiatives including website development, registration costs for virtual trade shows and missions.

Montgomery County is organizing a delegation of business, academic and government leaders to travel in May to BIOKorea in Seoul (May 8-10) and to several cities in China the following week. Delegation members will meet with potential business prospects and other potential partners.

To join the group with the potential support of a Maryland Export MD grant, an application for the grant must be submitted by April 1. The application process is multi-day. Companies interested in submission by April 1 should, as soon as possible, email Maryland Department of Commerce Regional Manager for East Asia, Hui-Min Tzeng at 

For more information regarding the May economic development mission to Korea and China, email

Commission on Aging Presentation Will Offer Older Adults Information on a Variety of Resources at Silver Spring Senior Center on Wednesday, April 3

Older Adults Can Get Answers on Many Topics at Commission on Aging Presentation on Wednesday, March 27, at Friendship Heights Community Center

The Montgomery County Commission on Aging will host a presentation from 1-2 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, at the Silver Spring Senior Center, to provide information on a variety of issues important to older adults and those concerned about older adults. The event is free and advance registration is not required.

The Silver Spring Senior Center is located at 1319 Apple Ave. in Silver Spring and is part of the newly opened Silver Spring Recreation and Aquatic Center. Paid parking is available at Garage 7, located at 8530 Cameron St. Nearby on-street, metered parking also is available.

“The County provides a wide variety of services for older adults and this presentation is a good opportunity to learn more and find out how to receive services,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “I encourage anyone interested to attend this or future presentations.”

Commission on Aging member Virginia Cain will discuss County resources and listen to the concerns of residents. In addition to the planned discussion, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions about services and resources. Specific information will be provided, along with contact information for programs.

The Aging and Disability Services Resource Unit is a telephone information and assistance unit to help older adults and their families find resources. It can be reached at 240-777-3000.

County Executive Elrich Will Join Celebration of the 12th Anniversary and 581st Episode of Award-winning ‘Montgomery al Día” Radio Show on Tuesday, April 2

County Executive Elrich Will Join Celebration of the 12th Anniversary and 581st Episode of Award-winning ‘Montgomery al Día” Radio Show on Tuesday, April 2

Montgomery Executive Marc Elrich will be the featured guest during the 581st episode of “Montgomery al Día” (“Montgomery Today”), Montgomery County’s National Association of Counties award-winning Spanish-language radio show on Radio America WACA 900 AM.

The 581st episode and 12th anniversary will be celebrated on the show’s live broadcast at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2. “Montgomery al Día” has been hosted and produced by Lorna Virgilí throughout its run.

“Montgomery County has a wonderful diversity of residents and many cultures,” said County Executive Elrich. “A main goal of our government is to make sure all residents are aware of what is happening, what services are available, and how they can get more involved in our community. Over the past decade, ‘Montgomery al Dia’ has been instrumental in communicating with our Latino residents. I congratulate Lorna for reaching this milestone and thank all of the special guests who have appeared on the show to keep our residents informed.”

“Montgomery al Día” is an innovative and effective tool implemented by the County’s Office of Public Information to inform the fast-growing Hispanic community in the County. “Montgomery al Día” is a weekly, half-hour live show that airs every Tuesday at 2 p.m. on Radio America and the County’s Spanish-language Facebook page

The show is also recorded and broadcast on County Cable Montgomery, the County’s YouTube channel, and various podcast platforms, including Amazon, Apple, Spotify, Player FM, and Listen Notes.
Since “Montgomery al Dia” was started in April 2012, there have been more than 380 guests.

The launch of the radio show has coincided with an increase in Hispanic participation in County events and public forums and an increase in the use of County services, such as the MC311 helpline. The show’s main objective is to keep the Hispanic community informed about all County programs and services so they can easily register, participate, and engage with local government.

The Office of Public Information has expanded the "Montgomery al Día" program with daily news, public service announcements, and a weekly agenda during the morning show "Calentando la Mañana" (“Warming Up the Morning”). That show is the longest-running talk radio show on WACA, established in 1987. The opportunity multiplies the amount of information Montgomery County Government presents to Spanish-speaking residents and expands outreach to a broader audience.

‘Nation’s Metropolis: The Economy, Politics, and Development of the Washington Region’ Will Be Presented by Montgomery History

‘Nation’s Metropolis: The Economy, Politics, and Development of the Washington Region’ Will Be Presented by Montgomery History
“Nation’s Metropolis,” a book which describes how the National Capital Region functions as a metropolitan political economy, will be the focus of free online presentation of Montgomery History that will be available April 1-7. Authors Royce Hanson and Harold Wolman will discuss their new book and distinguish aspects of the Washington Region that reflect its characteristics as a national capital from those common to most other metropolitan regions and to other capitals.

In the presentation, which was originally created in July 2023, the authors employ an interdisciplinary approach that draws from economics, political science, sociology, geography and history.

To access the presentation starting Monday, April 1, go to

In their book authors Hanson and Wolman focus on four major themes: the Federal government as the region’s basic industry and its role in economic, physical and political development; race as a core force in the development of the metropolis; the mismatch of the governance and economy of the National Capital Region; and the conundrum of achieving fully democratic governance for Washington, D.C.

The authors concluded that the institutions and practices that accrued over the 19th and 20th centuries are inadequate for dealing effectively with the issues confronting the city and the region in the 21st Century. They said the accumulation of problems arising from the unique role of the Federal government and the persistent problem of racial inequality has been compounded by failure to resolve the conundrum of governance for the District of Columbia. They recommend rethinking the governance of the entire region.

While many books are concerned with the city of Washington, Nation’s Metropolis is the only book focused on the development and political economy of the metropolitan region as a whole.

Latest Permitting Services Podcast Features Information About New ‘GIS Maps’

Latest Permitting Services Podcast Features Information About New ‘GIS Maps’

The latest episode of the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services (DPS) Podcast series, “GIS Maps,” provides an overview of three new geographic information systems (GIS) maps that are posted on the front page of the DPS website. The maps include the Floodplain and Storm Drain map, the My Inspector and Property map and the Commercial Use and Occupancy map. The maps could help business owners considering locations or potential homeowners in their decision making.

A link to all three of the new maps is posted on the front page of the DPS website at

“These maps are important to keep the public informed about properties in an area’s floodplain, as well as permitting activity around the County,” said DPS Customer Support and Outreach Division Chief Gail Lucas, who hosts the podcast. “The commercial use and occupancy map contains data going back to 1999 and may be of high interest to those considering opening a new business. We encourage residents to tune in to the podcast to learn more about these new maps and the information they provide.”

Joining Division Chief Lucas on the podcast is DPS Information Technology (IT) Specialist Josh Cole, who developed the maps. During the podcast, IT Specialist Cole explains the information found in each of the GIS maps and said he is available to answer questions and to assist anyone who may need help navigating the new maps.

This episode of the Permitting Services Podcast is now available on the DPS website and various podcast platforms including Amazon, Apple and Spotify. It also is available at Subscribe to the podcast by tapping the “plus” or “follow” sign on the podcast provider’s platform. This episode is also available on video to watch on-demand on the County’s YouTube channel.

Previous podcast episodes have covered building safety, accessory dwelling units, deck permits, the Design for Life program, use and occupancy certificates, fences, fire code compliance, the public right-of-way, septic systems, urban farming and zoning. Listeners are encouraged to send questions and ideas for future podcast episodes to

The Department of Permitting Services is located at 2425 Reedie Drive, Seventh Floor, in Wheaton. The customer service lobby is open from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday. No appointment is necessary to get in-person assistance. Customers may also reach out to DPS staff by calling MC 311 or 240-777-0311.

For more information about the permitting process, visit the DPS website at

‘Healthy Home Fair’ on Saturday, April 6, Will Be an Inspiring Way to Start Spring

‘Healthy Home Fair’ on Saturday, April 6, Will Be an Inspiring Way to Start Spring

The “Healthy Homes Fair,” which is a free expo and interactive experience for homeowners, renters, home renovation professionals and career seekers, will be held from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, at the D.C. Armory. The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is encouraging residents to attend as they can learn about the products and services needed to improve health, increase comfort and reduce emissions from the homes.

The fair is not a fancy trade fair or a highbrow panel discussion. It is a free event with jam-packed programming including cooking demonstrations, an appliance “petting zoo,” a bouncy castle for the kids and more.

The DC Armory is easily accessible from Montgomery County by Metrorail and has plenty of parking. The parking fee is $10.

DEP says that deciding to invest in a heat pump is similar to the process of purchasing a pair of shoes. Initially, you might encounter an advertisement for them, sparking your interest. Then, seeing them on a friend further ignites your curiosity. The next step involves visiting a location where you can physically inspect, touch and compare them with other options, perhaps even trying them on. At this point, you might consider making the purchase.

This is precisely the experience offered by the Healthy Homes Fair. At the fair, attendees will be able to interact with more than 40 manufacturers, service providers, homeowners and renters who have decarbonized their spaces as they offer advice and guidance.

Those attending can learn how to eliminate 25 percent of emissions that comes from homes. Greenhouse gas emission from homes accounts for 25 percent of total final emissions in the region.

The Montgomery Energy Connection table at the fair will have more information about programs available to County residents.

33rd Annual Rockville Science Day on Sunday, April 21, Will Feature Rockets, Robotics, Astronomy and Electric Vehicles

33rd Annual Rockville Science Day on Sunday, April 21, Will Feature Rockets, Robotics, Astronomy and Electric Vehicles

The 33rd Annual Rockville Science Day on Sunday, April 21, will continue its tradition of mixing the forefront of scientific advancements and historical looks on scientific developments. The free event, noon-5 p.m. at the Rockville campus of Montgomery College, will include demonstrations and the ability to talk with experts in fields including rockets, robotics, astronomy and electric vehicles.

The Rockville campus of Montgomery College is located at 51 Mannakee St. in Rockville. Parking is free. Exhibitors and volunteers are still being sought for the event. Science Day has exhibits that will fascinate all ages.

The 2023 Rockville Science Day was attended by more than 3,500 visitors and featured about 100 exhibitors. More are expected for the 2024 event.

Among the exhibitors for this year’s show will be National Capital Astronomers, NARHAMS Model Rocket Club, NASA, Croyden Creek Nature Center, the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, the National Capital Radio & Television Museum, MoCo Makers, Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington, Echoes of Nature, Montgomery Amateur Radio Club, US Pharmacopeia, Chemical Society of Washington, National Human Genome Research Institute, the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, Maryland Science Center, the Button Farm Living History Center, Maryland Bluebird Society, the Robotics Clubs & Teams and Pepco.

After more than three decades of growth and evolution, Rockville Science Day continues to pursue its original missions to:
  • Increase science literacy in the general public.
  • Encourage young people to develop and maintain their natural interest in science.
  • Help people understand the scientific principles underlying environmental concerns, technological development and global systems.
The creators of Science Day also were determined to establish a science center on the Montgomery College campus. The center serves as an educational resource for the public.

To learn more about Rockville Science Day, go to

Spring has Sprung: Come Out and Play in the Silver Spring Arts and Entertainment District

Spring has Sprung: Come Out and Play in the Silver Spring Arts and Entertainment District

The Silver Spring Arts and Entertainment District has fun activities and playful destinations to entertain adults and children this season.

“If there is any place that knows how to celebrate spring, it’s one that has it engrained in its name,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “I appreciate the efforts of the Silver Spring Arts and Entertainment District to offer a diversity of fun and free activities over the upcoming months. As the weather warms up, I hope everyone throughout our County and region consider exploring Silver Spring this season.”

Adult fun around the District includes a variety of recreation, entertainment and eating and drinking options. This spring marks the five-year anniversary of Silver Branch Brewing. Along with its anniversary celebration, Tuesday Night Pizza and Trivia and Wednesday Braniac events continue throughout the spring. Big Escape Room is a puzzle-based game room to solve with friends. Its Basketball room is suited to first timers (or older children) and the creepy Clown and Outbreak rooms are better suited to experienced or enthusiastic escapers.

If music is your jam, Bump ‘n Grind at the Brigadier General Charles E. McGee Library offers coffee and records; The Record Exchange, Joe’s Record Paradise; and MojoMala all have stacks of vinyl to peruse and purchase. For live shows, The Fillmore Silver Spring has national acts traveling through every night, The American Legion presents free local bands on most Saturdays and the Quarry House Tavern is just one example of the many bars and restaurants across Silver Spring that showcase live bands and entertainment. If you want to learn to play your own instrument from classical to rock, Silver Spring has two great options: Levine Music and School of Rock offer music lessons.

If brunch, strolling through a farmers market and watching a foreign film are more your speed, Silver Spring has a number of great options. The Breakfast Club serves brunch all day (and an occasional midnight brunch) and McGinty’s Public House serves a full Irish breakfast all day. All Set has an upcoming jazz brunch and drag brunch, as well as an intricate rope art installation by the Broco Loco brothers that is fascinating any day of the week. Silver Spring hosts the Freshfarm Market weekly and Downtown Silver Spring has an upcoming Spring Makers Market. AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center offers the latest releases in art films and retrospectives like its upcoming Western and Fabulous 50s films and international film festivals. The Majestic Silver Spring offers blockbusters and IMAX showings.

If you are looking for ideas of things to do with the kids, Round House Education Center offers a Days Off! program to entertain children whenever school is not in session. Dave and Buster’s has video and arcade-based games that are a good time for adults and children. Create Arts Center and Arts on the Block offer visual art classes and craft workshops.

For more energetic pursuits, the new Silver Spring Recreation and Aquatic Center has a splash area and slides for kids, a climbing wall and lap lanes for serious swimmers. It also offers drop-in sessions for children and adults including basketball, pickleball, volleyball, badminton and futsal. For bad weather days, there is an indoor play area.

Silver Spring has three parks with choices of play equipment and exercise options: Woodside Park, Woodside Urban Park and the Ellsworth Urban Park. The Ellsworth Urban Park has a dog enclosure for your pet to play. There are also a number of urban parks that are great for hangouts or to eat lunch.

Whatever your interests, find varied entertainment, dining, events and arts offerings in Silver Spring.

‘Exercises for the Quiet Eye' Free Interactive Art Appreciation Workshop Will Be Held April 4 and 11 in Silver Spring

‘Exercises for the Quiet Eye,’ Free Two-Part Interactive Art Appreciation Workshop, Wil Be Held April 4 and 11 in Silver Spring
“Exercises for the Quiet Eye,” a free interactive workshop in two sessions for anyone interested in taking the time to learn new techniques for viewing art, will be held Thursday, April 4, and Thursday, April 11, at the Silver Spring Civic Building. Each workshop will take place from 7-9 p.m. Participants can attend one or both sessions.

The Silver Spring Civic Building is located at 1 Veterans Pl. in Silver Spring. The program is being presented by Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. Space in the workshops is limited. To reserve a position, contact Lisa Martin at

“Exercises for the Quiet Eye” will consist of a series of guided exercises that help participants explore what we can learn from art and artifacts rather than about them. Professor Annie Storr will lead the workshops.

The special nature of Ms. Storr’s program brings insights to beginners and professional educators alike. Originally developed in museum galleries, the program can be integrated into formal education settings and assignments.

Ms. Storr has devoted her career to exploring the intersection of art history and public education. She was awarded a National Graduate Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education for her dissertation on the intellectual history of art museum docent tours.

Ms. Storr was the founding chair of the Education Studies Department at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. Prior to that, she was head of education programs for the American Alliance (Association) of Museums and served as director of arts management at American University. She has been a practicing museum educator for more than three decades, first as curator of education at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (Canada).

With students and colleagues, she created “Exercises for the Quiet Eye.”

National Public Health Week, April 1-7, Will Be Recognized Through Daily Themes

National Public Health Week, April 1-7, Recognized Through Daily Themes

Montgomery County will commemorate National Public Health Week (NPHW), April 1-7, by highlighting daily themes through a series of social media posts and hosting community events. This year’s theme is “Protecting, Connecting and Thriving: We Are All Public Health.”

The spotlighted daily themes can be found on the County’s Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook platforms in addition to Healthy Montgomery’s X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram.

The daily themes are:
  • Civic Engagement (Monday)
  • Healthy Neighborhoods (Tuesday)
  • Climate Change (Wednesday)
  • New Tools and Innovations (Thursday)
  • Reproductive and Sexual Health (Friday)
  • Emergency Preparedness (Saturday)
“Recently, Montgomery County was named one of the healthiest counties in the State of Maryland for health care resources and outcomes,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “A strong public health system creates healthier families, stronger communities and improves the quality of life for all. During National Public Health Week, we are promoting the theme of ‘Protecting, Connecting and Thriving: We are All Public Health.’ If you can, join our virtual public health events throughout this week that offer information on how to improve your health and some of the work we are doing.”

Residents are invited to attend the NPHW events:
  • Tuesday, April 2. 6:30-7:30 p.m. GardenRx: Cultivating Health through Gardening, By Gardening and Beats. Gardening Educator: Kimani Anku. Brigadier General Charles E McGee Library, 900 Wayne Avenue, Silver Spring. The event is free, but registration is required.
  • Wednesday, April 3. 5-6 p.m. via Zoom. Zip Code and Health Equity Report Presentation. Presenters: Chunfu Liu and Nathan Lorei. Montgomery County has consistently ranked No. 1 for overall health outcomes in Maryland by County Health Rankings since 2014. Despite this, a close examination of population subgroups and geographic areas reveals great disparities in health outcomes and factors contributing to health outcomes across communities and population subgroups within the County. Together, the Zip Code Ranking Project and the Health Equity Report will inform approaches in prevention, promotion, policy, practice and planning for existing and new health programs to meet the public health needs of Montgomery County. The event is free, but registration is required.
  • Wednesday, April 3. 4-5:30 p.m. via Zoom. Conversations on Climate Change: Perspectives from Students and Professionals. Presenters: Laura Anderko and Advika Agarwal. Speakers will share their work and connection to climate change, how it has impacted them and why/how they are involved in the climate change/environmental health space. Panel will be opened at the end of the presentation to discussion and questions from the audience. The event is free, but registration is required. Target Audience: Youth, grades 6-12 (primary audience); general public (secondary audience)
  • Thursday, April 4. 10 a.m.-Noon via Zoom. The Intersection of Community Risk Reduction and Public Health. Presenters: Beth Anne Nesselt, Lt. Irvin Smith, Oscar Mendez and Anthony Ramirez. This session promises to shed light on critical connections between community risk reduction and public health, with a focus on the invaluable insights garnered from the Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service's experience. Speakers will share innovative strategies, collaborative approaches and best practices aimed at enhancing community well-being and safety. The event is free, but registration is required.
Public health promotes and protects the health of people and communities where they live, learn, work and play. Public Health Services' programs, part of DHHS, monitor health status and implement intervention strategies to contain or prevent disease (including bio-terrorism and emerging diseases); foster public-private partnerships, which increase access to health services; develop and implement programs and strategies to address health needs; provide individual- and community-level health education; evaluate the effectiveness of public health programs and strategies; license and inspect facilities and institutions affecting public health and safety; and monitor, assess and communicate community population health data and information via Healthy Montgomery, the County’s community health improvement effort.

DHHS is also hosting several staff appreciation events throughout the week.

NPHW is sponsored by the American Public Health Association, the national membership and advocacy organization for public health. Read more about NPHW on the association’s website.

Follow DHHS on X (formerly Twitter) and on Facebook. Follow Healthy Montgomery on X and Instagram. Follow NPHW on X.

March 22, 2024

Message from the County Executive


Dear Friends,

I am in Taiwan this week with County Council Vice President Kate Stewart and others for the 2024 Smart City Summit & Expo. It is the second consecutive year I have attended this event and I look forward to sharing more about this trip in next week’s video.

For our weekly video this week, County Chief Administrative Officer Rich Madaleno sat down with Commander Amy Daum of the Montgomery County Police Department and Chief Dee Howard Richards of the County Fire and Rescue Service. They talked about roles for women within their respective departments and some of the challenges they faced. I encourage you to watch the video posted above and share it with others.

Take Two in Taiwan:

After travelling to Taiwan, India and Vietnam last year, I realized that while the initial connections are essential, these important relationships need to maintained and expanded. In many cultures, business comes through trust, and trust is formed through consistent communication and contact.

For the second year in a row, I was invited to speak about Montgomery County’s Climate Change initiatives to a global audience at the Taipei Computer Association’s (TCA) Net Zero City Leaders Summit. It was held as part of the TCA Smart Cities Summit and Expo. Montgomery County has featured visibility as the only county in the U.S. participating in this manner. This year, Montgomery County was made a cosponsor and the summit organizers agreed to cover most of our costs.

Council Vice President Stewart is chair of the Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy and Audit committees and also serves on the Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee. Jon Monger, the County’s Department of Environmental Protection director, and Judy Costello, our special projects manager for Business, Innovation and Economic Development, also attended. Judy does an amazing job organizing these trade missions. She works tirelessly to fill every minute of our time with potential opportunities that can benefit Montgomery County businesses, residents, students and the future of our economy.

We leveraged the speaking opportunity at the TCA Smart Cities Summit to raise the profile of Montgomery County and its advanced technology industries on the international stage. We sought to recruit companies or universities interested in establishing/expanding their U.S. presence to consider Montgomery County. We also worked to build relationships and share best practices among business, academic and government leaders in sustainability, information technology, innovation, transportation and other smart cities areas.

At the Smart Cities Summit, I shared our environmental successes with leaders from around the world. I talked about our Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS), which are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. The County also is committed to revamping our transit system so all buses run on clean energy instead of fossil fuels.

We are taking advantage of new technologies to combat climate change and fulfill our Climate Action Plan goal of reducing carbon emissions 80 percent by 2027 and 100 percent by 2035. We cannot change the world on our own, but we can show other jurisdictions and our residents how much can be done if we all do our part.

Last year’s visit to Taiwan resulted in two companies joining the Rockville Innovation Center and receiving State of Maryland Global Gateway Grants. We are following up with companies and universities interested in doing business in Montgomery County we met last year.

Similar to our past trade missions, we are once again finding out that our County’s diversity is our greatest strength. No matter where go, people know about Montgomery County because they have lived or visited here or know a family member, friend or co-worker who has. I have learned on my trips that is much easier to lead businesses to Montgomery County when there is good word of mouth coming from company leaders who have already made the transition here.

I look forward to sharing more with you about this trip next week.

Know What to Recycle and Where—and What Goes in the Trash

We celebrated Global Recycling Day this week. It is just the seventh time that the Global Recycling Foundation has marked the day to highlight recycling heroes and educate the public on the continued benefits of recycling.

One way every family can help fight climate change is by focusing on our quick-fix, throwaway consumer culture. If we commit to limiting as much waste as possible, it could make a massive difference.

In Montgomery County, there has been an increase in the amount of non-recyclable items being sent in for recycling. These items can contaminate what can be reused leading to more waste.

Below are the items we most often see inappropriately placed in blue recycling – you can click on the links to learn more about what to do with them:
  • Plastic Bags, Plastic Film or Shrink Wrap. These cannot go in the recycling bins, but you may be able to recycle them at a grocery store.
  • Hazardous or Toxic Product Containers like containers for herbicides, pesticides, insecticides and automotive fluids. Some of these can start fires and are dangerous in the trash, but you can dispose of them at the transfer stations.
  • Electronics like computers, keyboards and TVs. They can be dropped off to be recycled.
  • Styrofoam® or Polystyrene, which are often used in mail packaging. Those usually just go in the trash, so try to reduce the use of these. Also note: packing material is very often marked #6 PS and #6 materials are not allowed in recycling.
  • Used medical supplies like needles, IV bags or medical equipment tubing, must be disposed of separately.
We have worked hard to ensure Montgomery County continues to expand the type of recycling we accept. The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station takes many items that can be recycled, but cannot go in the curbside recycle bins. These items include scrap metal, mattresses, medical equipment, some building materials and clothing. Lightbulbs and batteries are accepted at the transfer station, which is in Derwood and is open seven days a week. Visit and click on the How Do I Recycle section for a handy resource on how to dispose of many types of items.

Expanding Our Mobile Crisis Outreach Teams

During the  media briefing this week, we highlighted that my recommended Fiscal Year 2025 operating budget expands our mobile crisis outreach teams (MCOTs.)

These are teams of licensed clinicians and peer support specialists who respond to calls for individuals in an acute mental health crisis and a mental health response is needed. Calls come directly to the Crisis Center or from public safety.

We currently have three of these teams that are available to respond 24/7, but they cannot always respond in a timely fashion. We are currently recruiting for two more teams, and if my recommended FY25 operating budget is approved by the County Council, we will fund a total of seven teams.   

Over the last year, the three teams have responded to 2,100 calls for assistance. That number reflects a post-pandemic spike in mental health concerns and behavioral health distress.

The County receives more than 40,000 phone calls to the Crisis Center yearly. The MCOTs respond to 30 to 40 percent of calls on their own, but in other cases, the teams may request police or police may arrive at a scene and request the MCOTs. Referrals also come from schools, shelters and paramedics.

This program is not new, but as the public discussion about mental health expands there is more recognition of the need for these services. I am proud that we have been able to secure grant funding to support expansion. I look forward to seeing this team grow and help more people in Montgomery County.

If you are in need of help dealing with a mental health crisis or know of someone who needs help, call the Crisis Center at 240-777-4000 any time day or night
County Women Honored by Maryland Commission for Women

The Maryland Commission for Women this week honored a new Hall of Fame class and celebrated young female leaders.

The group is marking several firsts for Maryland by recognizing Susan Lee as the first Asian American to serve as Maryland’s Secretary of State, first Asian American elected to the Senate and first Chinese American elected to the General Assembly.

She is part of a strong group from Montgomery County including Aruna Miller, the second woman to serve as Lieutenant Governor and the first woman of color and the first immigrant elected to statewide office in Maryland.

Brooke Lierman is the first woman to hold the office of Maryland comptroller. She is the first woman independently elected to a constitutional office in the State.

The County's inspector general, Megan Davey Limarzi, and Circuit Court Judge Lili Khozeimeh were honored as well. Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School senior Brooke Silver was selected as a 2024 Maryland Young Leader. She is editor-in-chief for the student-run newspaper and is president of the group “Once Upon A Prom,” which helped outfit more than 200 Children's Hospital patients for the facility's first prom in more than 30 years.

Thank you to the Maryland Department of Human Services and the State Commission for Women for highlighting the important work of these women on behalf of our State for Women's History Month. Here is a link to previous winners honored by the commission.

Death of Larry Levitan

We have lost a longtime Montgomery County leader in Larry Levitan. The former State delegate and senator served for more than 20 years before retiring in 1994. He was chair of the Senate Budget Taxation Committee. More of his political career is detailed here.

He helped develop many projects around Montgomery County and his influence carried on long after.

On behalf of the County he served, my condolences go to the Levitan family.

Committee Evaluation and Review Board Applicants Sought

The County is in search of 11 people to fill vacancies on the Committee Evaluation and Review Board (CERB.) The CERB oversees the County’s boards, committees, commissions and task forces. It reports to the County Executive and County Council.

This evaluation is crucial to enacting change and making the system work better. The last time the CERB was formed was in 2012. It produced a report you can read here.

Applicants of diverse backgrounds, professions, genders, geography, abilities, ethnicities and ages are encouraged to apply. You can read more about the process HERE.

You can find out about all the open boards, committees and commissions here.

Health Report

There are fewer reports of most respiratory illnesses this week, including COVID-19. The exception is the flu.

More flu cases are being seen in school-age children and teens, leading to a slight increase in emergency room and clinic visits, but not hospitalizations.

Stay home if you are sick and continue to practice good hygiene like washing your hands frequently.

Cherry Blossoms in Montgomery County

Did you know that you can enjoy cherry blossom season without leaving the County? Use the Visit MoCo app to learn which areas of the County are ripe with cherry trees and other gardens to explore.

The Visit MoCo app can help find things to do or help guide you through a Cherry Blossom Road Trip without going anywhere near the Tidal Basin in traditionally crowded Downtown Washington.

Speaking of spending time outside: Please heed the warnings issued by our Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OMEHS.) Over the past week, it has issued a Red Flag Warning for fire danger and a Hypothermia Alert because overnight temperatures were below freezing. Follow this link for more information from the OMEHS and always stay up-to-date on warnings by signing up for Alert Montgomery.

As always, my appreciation for all of you,

Marc Elrich
County Executive