Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Golden Shovel Awardees Announced

I look forward to presenting the 2014 Sidewalks Are Safe For Everyone (SAFE)/Golden Shovel awards at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 22, to honor residents who helped out neighbors at various times during the long and snowy winter of 2013-14.
I initiated the Golden Shovel awards to honor residents who helped neighbors shovel out after a snowfall. The awards were not presented in the past three years due to mild winters, but I brought back the awards following this season’s long winter of arctic temperatures and multiple snow storms. This winter, with the seemingly never-ending snow storms, I decided to award all nominees, issuing 82 Golden Shovel awards to 111 individuals.

As I read through the nominations, I recognized how grateful people are for the kindness of their neighbors. To duly recognize these unsung heroes for all the gratitude people expressed, I decided I have to honor everyone who was nominated. They all deserve a Golden Shovel.

The Council’s regular weekly session will be held in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The ceremonies will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcast also will be streamed at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council/ondemand/index.html. The Council meeting will be rebroadcast on Friday, April 25, at 9 p.m. and will be available before that time on demand.

The 2014 Golden Shovel awardees are:

Wabi Aboudou (Takoma Park) repeatedly shoveled the long driveway and cleared the car of a neighborhood senior citizen couple.

Fadjil Asikin (Bethesda) almost single-handedly cleared the busy sidewalks near his house that connect his neighborhood with the Grosvenor Metro and Wildwood Shopping Center.

James “Dusty” Baber (Rockville), at age 73, shoveled his neighbor’s property several times along with the sidewalks on his own corner house lot.

Lisa Bente (Rockville) shoveled the sidewalks of three neighbors after this season’s snow storm of more than 15 inches.

Scott Berman (Rockville) helped his elderly neighbors shovel their sidewalks and driveways.

Lise and Bill Bernhard (Bethesda) assisted neighbor Sara Robinson in providing detailed work of snow removal by clearing snow off cars and removing snow and ice from steps.

Michael Bernstein (Takoma Park) after each snow storm this winter, routinely cleared the entire side of his street and sidewalks of snow and assisted others with snow removal.

Renrique “Ricky” Bertley (Kensington), with the help of his family, continuously plowed the streets of his community during the snow storms at all hours of the night and day.

Jeff Brink (Gaithersburg) after every storm, cleared the sidewalks and walkways of his neighbors and assisted to dig out cars—despite a recent leg injury.

Joe, Anna, Sophia and Peter Capizzi (Chevy Chase) gathered with others to help shovel snow from sidewalks to provide pedestrian safety on a stretch of Wisconsin Avenue.

J. Matt Clouse (Takoma Park) cleared his senior citizen neighbors’ sidewalk, long walkway and steps to their front door.

Michael Codori (Rockville) made sure each of his elderly neighbors’ sidewalks, driveways and walkways were safe and clear of snow.

Kees deKievit (Broookeville), after every snow storm, came equipped with shovel, snow blower and broom to clear his neighbor’s 90-foot-long driveway and car.

Chris Ecker (Gaithersburg) shoveled the walks and driveways of several neighbors, including a family that had just moved into the neighborhood.

Rolf Eppinger (Silver Spring) consistently removed snow and ice from his blind neighbors’ sidewalk, driveway and walkways.

Melanie Folstad (Chevy Chase) organized and worked with a group of volunteer shovelers to clear a portion of Wisconsin Avenue, making it safe for bus riders and pedestrians.

Jim Ford and Beth Rockwell (Glen Echo) shoveled sidewalks and cleared cars of snow as far as two blocks from their house.

John Hallen (Brookeville), during the 18-inch snow storm, cleared his neighbors’ driveways with his tractor.

Russell Hartung (Darnestown), after long work days, regularly shoveled the driveways of his neighbors.

Natalia Henriquez and Christopher Panek (Rockville) shoveled their neighbor’s sidewalk and provided a clear path for elementary school children on their way to school.

Annie and Bob Hinkley with their children (Chevy Chase) joined their forces with others and shoveled a portion of Wisconsin Avenue’s sidewalk of snow.

David Hobsen (Silver Spring) shoveled a neighbor’s driveway while the family was out of town.

Richard Hoye (Bethesda) was nominated by several neighbors praising his work of shoveling and plowing the sidewalks in an area of Old Georgetown Road.

Andrew Huck (Silver Spring), along with his neighbor Chuck Niglio, used their snow blowers to clear sidewalks and driveways throughout their neighborhood as well as the path to the local middle school.

George and Margo Hunt (Rockville) shoveled and de-iced their elderly neighbor’s walkway and steps.

Greg Iser (Silver Spring) shoveled a neighbor’s driveway while the family was out of town.

John and Evelyn Jemionek (Silver Spring) shoveled the sidewalks of three neighbors during every storm.

Rick Jones (Silver Spring) used his snow blower after every storm to clear sidewalks in two blocks of his neighborhood and also cleared pathways leading to the nearby elementary school.

Mylene and Eric Jouane (Bethesda), who are new to their neighborhood, checked on their elderly neighbors after each snow storm and also shoveled their sidewalks and paths.

Mr. and Mrs. Kamachaitis (Boyds) cleared snow for several houses in their neighborhood and helped in other ways during the snow storms.

Joe and Kay Kanney (Rockville) repeatedly shoveled their neighbor’s sidewalk and driveway and cleared their car of snow—just as they have done in past winters.

Pat and Todd King (Gaithersburg) cleared three driveways and sidewalks of senior neighbors.

Stephen Klopfer (Germantown) cleared the sidewalks and driveways for 19 senior neighbors.

Joe Klosky (Rockville), together with neighbor Bob Jenkins, cleared as many as 10 driveways during each snow storm using snow blowers and shovels.

Alex Koudry (Silver Spring), during each snow storm, cleared the driveways of his next door neighbor and other elderly neighbors nearby.

Julio Kuchilla (Germantown) for more than 13 years has cleared snow from the walkway and sidewalk of his neighbor.

Loretta Lawrence and her son, Jason (Kensington), cleared the sidewalks and driveways of their neighbor, who is a physician, while the doctor worked at the hospital during the storm.

Ben LeBlanc (Bethesda), age 13, shoveled his neighbor’s walkway and cleared her car of snow.

John Meekin and Andrew Leite (Rockville) shoveled their neighbor’s sidewalks and patio.

Steve Leon (Brookeville), who was nominated by several neighbors, cleared the driveways and walkways of neighbors with his snow blower after every storm.

Michael Linder (Silver Spring) shoveled the sidewalks and driveways of several neighbors after each snowfall.

Deven and Kyle Lizzi (Burtonsville) shoveled the sidewalks of at least six neighbors after storms—before shoveling their own house.

Rick McUmber (Chevy Chase) shoveled sidewalks on Wisconsin Avenue between Hunt Avenue and Bradley Boulevard. He was always the first one out during storms helping to shovel.

Patrick Malloy and his children (Potomac) assisted their senior citizen neighbors by shoveling their driveways and walkways.

Joe Mamana (Burtonsville) tirelessly cleared snow from several neighbors’ driveways during snow storms.

Pedro Marroquin (Silver Spring) shoveled a neighbor’s sidewalk during her husband’s illness and subsequent death.

Tim and Debbie Marsh (Montgomery Village), who were nominated by several neighbors, shoveled sidewalks and steps of nine townhomes occupied by widows and others with medical issues.

Rob Mixell (Gaithersburg) and his son cleared their neighbors’ driveways during storms.

Mitchell Morris and his son, Brian (Rockville), consistently cleared their neighbor’s long and wide driveway.

Jake Nichols (Rockville) shoveled the driveway and dug out the car of his senior neighbor during the winter. In summer, he often helps with gardening and other tasks in the yard.

Chuck Niglio and Andrew Huck (Silver Spring) used their snow blowers to clear sidewalks and driveways throughout their neighborhood, as well as the path to the local middle school.

John Nigro (Silver Spring) cleared his neighbor’s sidewalk, driveway and walkways.

Nick Novak (Rockville) purchased a snow blower to lighten the community burden when he learned the winter was going to be snowy, and he cleared much of neighborhood each snowfall.

The Nusraty and Price children (Potomac), after each snowfall, shoveled the driveway of a neighbor recovering from open heart surgery.

Sue Ousterhout and her daughter, Gina Balodemas,(Chevy Chase) shoveled the sidewalks of snow, creating a safe pathway for pedestrians to Bradley Boulevard.

Michael Peyton (Silver Spring) shoveled the sidewalks and driveways of four of his neighbors all winter, including those of a senior with arthritis and COPD.

Andrew Pollock (Takoma Park) shoveled the sidewalk and long walkway to the home of a senior couple who are unable to do their own shoveling.

Joseph Porcelli (Bethesda) created snowcrew.org, a web site that matches volunteers who are willing to help by shoveling for residents who are unable to shovel themselves.

Conrad Potemra (Poolesville) shoveled many of his neighbors’ driveways and sidewalks, and also went beyond the homes to provide access to the nearby intersection.

Jeffrey Powell (Gaithersburg) has a long record of helping his neighbors during snow storms. He was one of the first shovelers out to help after storms this year—just like he was after blizzards of 1996 and 2009, Snowmageddon and the 2011 storms. He also used his truck to pull out the vehicles of drivers who got stuck in the snow.

Vincent Queen, Jr. (Silver Spring) tirelessly helped his neighbors during the 2014 storms.

Phil Reding (Montgomery Village) shoveled the driveways and sidewalks of several elderly neighbors whom he did not know, but heard were in need of help.

The Reichard Family (Rockville) shoveled the sidewalk for the entire block after the snow storms this year—just as they do every year.

Sara Robinson (Bethesda) used a snow blower to clear the driveway of her medically vulnerable neighbor while Lise and Bill Bernhard worked to clear off cars and remove snow and ice from the steps.

Joseph and Christine Rosamont (Silver Spring) this year, like every year, cleared a pathway from the house to the curb to enable their wheelchair-bound neighbor to board Metro Access and attend his day program.

Pete Salinger (Bethesda) shoveled the snow on the sidewalks he worked hard to have installed, thereby helping all of his neighbors—and especially one who suffered a concussion after slipping and falling on an icy sidewalk.

The Shein Family (Potomac), as they do every year, shoveled the driveway and sidewalks of neighbors whose physical limitations prevent them from doing their own shoveling.

Robert Sherf (Silver Spring) cleared the sidewalks on his block and the entire neighborhood road with his small plow.

Kenneth Singleton (Olney), who is known to his entire community for his generosity over the years, shoveled driveways of many of his neighbors.

Gariel Spiro (Gaithersburg) cleared snow at the home of a senior with physical limitations.

Bob Stern (Potomac), age 73, used his snow blower to clear sidewalks and driveways throughout his neighborhood.

Jim and Sue Suit (Olney) shoveled the driveway and front door area of their neighbors with medical limitations—as they have done after every snow storm for the past 13 years.

Emmanuel Suppey (Gaithersburg) cleared snow from the sidewalk and front steps—as well as from the car and parking spaces—of a senior neighbor who is recovering from hip replacement surgery. They also help the neighbor by providing rides to doctor appointments and assist with errands.

Frank Taylor (Silver Spring) cleared walkways and driveways of several neighbors who face challenges due to health or age—in spite of his own back issues.

Timothy Thew (Poolesville) attached his plow to his ATV at the first sign of winter and cleared snow for the entire neighborhood all season long.

Dan Thomas (Silver Spring) cleared the nearby church parking lot and also plowed the long driveway of a senior couple, allowing the man to get to the hospital for his scheduled surgery.

Casey Thompson (Rockville) shoveled sidewalks and driveways throughout his neighborhood—helping his neighbors as he does in other ways year-round.

Leroy Wells (Gaithersburg) helped anyone he saw in need and looked after his neighbors in other ways—in some cases ensuring that they had heat, food and water.

Christopher Williams (Gaithersburg) regularly helped neighbors with disabilities by removing snow from their sidewalks, driveways and from the front of their homes.

Hannah Williams (Gaithersburg), who is only four years old, is already learning the Golden Rule by shoveling—or at least trying to shovel—her neighbor’s driveway.

Jim Williams (Takoma Park) used his snow blower to clear the sidewalks of several of neighbors, including one who uses crutches to get around.

Michael Wilson (Gaithersburg) plowed sidewalks throughout the neighborhood and created a clear access to all the bus stops.

Mark Wood (Silver Spring), the longest residing member of his community, cleared streets and sidewalks to ensure all of his neighbors were able to carry on their daily routines.

Dave Worcester and Therese Worcester-Aubin (Gaithersburg), were out in full force after the snow storms shoveling sidewalks and clearing many cars of snow through their entire condominium community.

William Wyncoop (Poolesville) cleared his neighbor’s sidewalks for years—although he remained anonymous until recently.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April 8 is Equal Pay Day

Today is Equal Pay Day. That means it is the date on which the wages paid to American women catch up to the wages paid to men from the previous year. Councilmembers Cherri Branson and Nancy Navarro joined me, along with representatives from the Montgomery County chapter of the National Organization for Women, to highlight this pay inequity.

Even though the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act passed more than 40 years ago, women continue to suffer the consequences of inequitable pay differentials. In fact, year-round, full-time working women in 2012 earned only 77% of the earnings of year-round, full-time working men. Women earn less in every occupational classification for which enough data is available, including occupations dominated by women. Over a working lifetime, this wage disparity costs the average American woman and her family an estimated $700,000 to $2 million in lost wages, impacting Social Security benefits and pensions.

Today we all wore red to symbolize that women are still in the red when it comes to pay equity and to emphasize that fair pay strengthens the security of families today and eases future retirement costs, while enhancing the American economy.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Local Vaccine Developer Wins Prestigious Award

More good news from Montgomery County's biotech industry. Rockville-based Sanaria Inc. won the 2014 Vaccine Industry Excellence Award for the “Best Prophylactic Vaccine” presented last week during the 14th World Vaccine Congress. Last August, CNN reported on this company's successful clinical trial. Here's the press release from our Department of Economic Development:

The Sanaria® PfSPZ Vaccine demonstrated complete protection against malaria in all volunteers (6/6) who received high dose immunizations in a trial at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), NIH.

The clinical trial results were published online in Science magazine in August 2013. Vaccines from Sanofi Pasteur, GSK, and Novartis were among the 6 finalists competing with Sanaria.
Founded in 2003, Sanaria's mission is to develop and commercialize whole-parasite malaria vaccines that confer high-level, long-lasting protection against Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite responsible for most of the malaria-associated severe illness and death worldwide, and the other parasites that cause human malaria, and to use these vaccines to eliminate malaria. The company's corporate headquarters, administrative, research, development, and manufacturing operations are located in Rockville, Maryland.

Two other Montgomery County companies were finalists in their VIE award categories. Rockville-based Accelovance was the highly recommended finalist for Best Clinical Site & Trial Network and a finalist for Best Contract Research Organization.  Gaithersburg-based MedImmune was the highly recommended finalist for Best Pharma Company.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pothole Blitz Starts Today

Starting today the Department of Transportation will conduct another intensive effort to fill the County’s potholes that have resulted from recent freeze/thaw cycles. MCDOT repairs potholes every day of the year except during rain and snow. But, over the next two weeks, the department will devote about 60 percent of its resources to filling potholes and replacing damaged road sections.

MCDOT relies on resident reports of potholes, and repair crews also stop to fill any other potholes encountered as they make their rounds. Report potholes online or by calling the MC311 Call Center at 311 or 240-777-0311, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Please also be cautious and patient when encountering crews filling potholes.

MCDOT fills potholes on 5,000 lane miles of County-maintained roads. The Maryland State Highway Administration (MSHA) fills potholes, plows snow and maintains numbered routes in the County, such as Maryland routes 355 or 97. MSHA can be reached at 301-513-7300. In addition, municipalities, such as the cities of Rockville or Gaithersburg, handle their own repairs.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Open Houses on the New Zoning Code

The Montgomery County Planning Department invites you to give feedback on the comprehensive District Map Amendment proposed for Montgomery County. There will be several open houses held throughout the County this spring and all are invited to attend. The new Zoning Code was approved by the County Council in March 2014 after months of worksessions and discussions. The new zoning code will modernize antiquated, redundant zoning regulations and create new tools to help achieve goals in community plans.
Although the new code has already been approved, it cannot go into effect until a new zoning map has also been adopted, since the zoning on many non-residential properties is changing. Over the next few months, Planning Department staff will be focusing their attention on the proposed zoning map and are seeking feedback from affected property owners as well as from residents. Staff will be available and will have interactive maps at each of the open house events to help answer questions about the proposed zoning.
After the spring open houses, staff will bring a revised version of the proposed zoning map to the Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) committee for review. Once the PHED committee completes its review, the full County Council will evaluate the proposed zoning map. It is anticipated that the map will be adopted by Council in the summer or early fall, and that the new code will become effective on October 30, 2014.
Zoning Code Open Houses Details:
April 22 (6-8 p.m.) Rockville Memorial Library
April 24 (6-8 p.m.) Wheaton Regional Library
April 29 (5-8 p.m.) Park and Planning Headquarters, Silver Spring
May 1 (6-8 p.m.) Marilyn J. Praisner Library, Burtonsville
May 5 (6-8 p.m.) Upcounty Regional Services Center, Germantown
May 6 (6-8 p.m.) B-CC Regional Services Center, Bethesda
About the Zoning Code Rewrite:
Montgomery County’s Zoning Code was originally written in 1977. It is the law that governs growth in the county. The comprehensive rewrite of the ordinance started five years ago with the goal of simplifying the complex and outdated code. The Council’s recent approval of the text for the Zoning Code Rewrite will be instrumental in all future planning and development in the County. Planning Department staff is looking forward to embracing a new zoning code: one that is easier to use, encourages better development, enhances compatibility, promotes sustainability, and supports our county master plans. The new zoning code represents a great step forward for Montgomery County to have a more understandable, clear and coherent zoning ordinance that will be easier to use and to enforce. It offers a better organization of uses and zones, clearer procedures for approval and a solid foundation in modern planning and design principles.
Learn more about the Zoning Rewrite and how to get involved in the process.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Community Beautification Grants Now Available

Apply now for a Keep Montgomery County Beautiful grant for beautification projects that help improve the appearance of communities. The grants pay 50 percent of the total cost, up to $500, on a competitive basis to any non-profit community association. Volunteer hours spent on the project are valued at $7.25 an hour.

Since 2000, KMCB has helped 65 communities fund beautification projects to plant flowers, shrubs, or trees; landscape a community entranceway or traffic circle; convert weed fields to wildflower meadows; screen highways; and beautify schools. Grants must be used for new projects that improve community aesthetics or serve to protect the environment. Construction and general maintenance projects or those that have already been completed do not qualify.

The Keep Montgomery County Beautiful Task Force is a group of concerned citizen volunteers who help educate residents and change public attitudes about littering; support cleanup and beautification projects; encourage citizens to start or improve recycling programs; and raise awareness of the problems caused by graffiti. The County’s Department of Transportation has funded KMCB since the mid-1980s. The group welcomes new members and meets informally once a month in Rockville.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Women's History Month Proclamation

It is Gloria Steinem's birthday--an auspicious day for us to honor National Women's History Month at the County Council by presenting a Proclamation to the Montgomery County Commission for Women.

During Women’s History Month, we celebrate the courage, foresight and creativity of women of every race, class and ethnic background who have contributed to our county and our country. Today, we took time to remember the many Montgomery County women, including Rachel Carson, mother of the modern environmental movement; Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross; and Emily Edmonson, freed slave and abolitionist, who figure importantly in our local and national history.

To learn more about Montgomery County women in history, check out the Commission for Women’s display in the Rockville Library or visit their history page on the Web.

And since it is her birthday, here's some wisdom from Ms. Steinem, "The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."

Friday, March 21, 2014

Kids In Need Distributors Provides Weekend Food

Do you know about this relatively new non-profit organization whose primary focus is to end childhood hunger here in Montgomery County? Kids In Need Distributors provides children who are on the federal Free And Reduced Meal Program with nutritious foods on the weekends, when FARM is not available. Every six weeks, KIND volunteers meet at the store, pick up six weeks worth of food for participating schools and deliver the food to the schools. The schools then arrange to pack the individual bags and give them discretely to the kids every Friday to take home. In just two years, the program has grown from feeding 35 kids in one school to approximately 900 kids in 15 schools. The program is 100 percent volunteer based, with no paid positions at all, so all of donations go directly to the purchase of food for the kids. Stay tuned for an upcoming summer food program, too.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New Program to Attract Technology Sector

Check out Montgomery County's new initiative to support the innovation economy. The MOVE (Make Office Vacancies Extinct) Program is designed to attract life sciences, IT, cybersecurity and green technology businesses to Montgomery County. These are the technology-based sectors critical to the County’s economic future.

The program will reduce Class A and B office vacancies by offering a $4 per square foot rent assistance for year one on new commercial leases of at least three years and at least 2,000 square feet to companies that are newly formed in or relocate to the County.

The innovative MOVE program came out of engagement by the Department of Economic Development with the local real estate sector over the past year. It is a creative and proactive way to attract innovative businesses to the County while reducing Class A and B office vacancies.

The program is capped at 10,000 square feet or $40,000 per company. New company attraction over 10,000 square feet is managed through the County’s Economic Development Fund that awards grants, loans and/or tax credits based on the projected impact of the business. The MOVE program is effective immediately. DED will administer the program using initial funding from its existing FY14 budget.

DED pojects that every $250,000 in rent abatements through the MOVE program will yield about 15 new business formations or attractions in the County, with an estimated 250 to 320 new jobs.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Recommended Budget Transmitted to Council

The County Executive released his Recommended Operating Budget today, and now it is up to the County Council to consider his proposals and approve a final budget at the end of May. We will hold our public hearings on the budget on April 8-10. To sign up to speak call 240-777-7803. If you can't make the hearings, you can also let us know your views by e-mailing county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov. Also, check the Council's Web site for regular budget updates.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Think Green this Spring

The groundhog may be eking out every moment of his six more weeks of winter, but spring is coming, and along with it…gardening and lawn care. As you undertake your beautification projects this spring, I encourage you to consider our water quality, wildlife, pets and children (particularly those with asthma), and please limit your use of pesticides.

Pesticides are defined as substances to prevent, destroy, repel or mitigate the effects of any pest ranging from insects, animals and weeds to microorganisms such as fungi, molds, bacteria and viruses. Pesticides are regulated at the federal, state and local level, and they are considered hazardous waste.

Our Department of Environmental Protection has an excellent brochure, Pesticides: Selection, Safe Use and Alternatives, which has some great advice. Among the alternatives:

  • Remove sources of food and water in your home.
  • Eliminate places where pests may hide inside and outside your home.
  • Block pest entry into your home.
  • Remove pest breeding sides in your lawn and garden.
  • Make sure you take proper care of the plants around your home, lawn and garden.
DEP can also help you create an Integrated Pest Management program using a wide variety of the best available pest management strategies, which are both economical and pose the least possible hazard to people, property and the environment.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Council Approves Ten Mile Creek Master Plan

This week we gave tentative approval to a limited master plan amendment for the Ten Mile Creek area of Clarksburg that stays close to the original density projected in the 1994 Master Plan for the emerging community but takes significant steps to protect the long-term health of the watershed.

We heard from environmental experts of every description and reduced the area available for development significantly in the Ten Mike Creek drainage area in order to protect the long term health of one of Montgomery County's last remaining environmental resources. Nonetheless, potential development opportunities proposed in the 1994 Clarksburg area plan remain possible under our approach, subject to stringent environmental controls. While the area for development is not as much as some might have preferred, the plan's original intent to ensure a successful Town Center is carried through in the amended plan. The Council carefully balanced environmental issues with community sustainability and ensured Clarksburg's continued ability to thrive. For details, see the press release.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Golden Shovel Awards

Did someone you know make your neighborhood safer? Nominate them for a Golden Shovel.
I started the Golden Shovel awards in 2003 to honor residents who lace up their boots to help neighbors shovel out after a snowfall. I'm bringing the awards back this year after a four-year hiatus due to a lack of snow. The awards recognize individuals who go above and beyond in helping clear ice and snow from County sidewalks.

Our seniors, school children, people with disabilities and those who walk to work or use mass transit depend on snow-free sidewalks. This goes beyond convenience--it is a matter of public safety. I certainly hope that residents will nominate for a Golden Shovel those individuals who put the Golden Rule to work. Get the nomination form online or in The Gazette.

Local Nonprofit Leader Named CNN Hero

Congratulations to Mark Bergel from A Wider Circle for being named a 2014 CNN Hero! More than 10,000 individuals from around the world were nominated this year, so for A Wider Circle's work to be honored in this way is absolutely incredible--and well deserved. You may remember Mark and A Wider Circle from the award-winning documentary The Unseen Montgomery, which highlighted the hidden poverty in Montgomery County.

The CNN piece will air several times over the next few days on various CNN networks. You can also watch the video and read the article online.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

New Animal Services and Adoption Center Opens Sunday

The new Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center opens to the public for business on Sunday, March 2, at noon. The Center will be operational for walk-in business and animals will be available for viewing and adoption.

The state-of-the-art facility is operated by the Montgomery County Police Department’s Animal Services Division and serves as the County’s only open-admissions animal shelter.
Programs and services offered at the new Center will include: adoptions, lost and found, pet licensing, field services, pet-owner and adopter support and foster and volunteer opportunities – with the anticipation of more program development to come.

Information about the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center:

• Address: 7315 Muncaster Mill Rd., Derwood, MD 20855
• Phone Number: 240.773.5900
• Call 9-1-1 to report an animal emergency
• Call 301-279-8000 to report an animal-related non-emergency
• Hours of Operation:
  Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday……………....12 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  Wednesday………………………………………. Closed
  Saturday & Sunday…………………………......... 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  After hours call 301-279-8000
• Animal Services and Adoption Center Website: Coming Soon. Please visit
  www.facebook.com/mcasac for more information.