Monday, September 26, 2016

Early Voting October 27-November 3

Mark your calendar early voting October 27-November 3, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.  Any registered voter may cast a ballot at any one of ten sites on the same voting equipment used on Election Day. Many voters find that early voting is more convenient than voting at their assigned polling place on Election Day.

The locations are:

  • The Activity Center at Bohrer Park, 506 S. Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg
  • Damascus Community Recreation Center, 25520 Oak Drive, Damascus
  • Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville
  • Germantown Community Recreation Center, 18905 Kingsview Road, Germantown
  • Jane E. Lawton Community Recreation Center, 4301 Willow Lane, Chevy Chase
  • Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, 14906 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville
  • Mid-County Community Recreation Center, 2004 Queensguard Road, Silver Spring
  • Potomac Community Recreation Center, 11315 Falls Road, Potomac
  • Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place, Silver Spring
  • Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad, 2401 Arcola Avenue, Silver Spring
For more information about early voting, visit the Board of Elections at www.777vote.org. If you prefer, you can also vote by mail.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sick and Safe Leave Law Effective October 1

Montgomery County's Sick and Safe Leave Law takes effect October 1. Under the new law, an employer must provide each employee with sick leave for a variety of reasons, including personal illness, preventative care, a family member's illness, a public health emergency or domestic violence.

Employers with fewer than five employees must provide up to 32 hours of earned paid sick and safe leave and 24 hours of unpaid earned sick and safe leave in a calendar year. An employer with five or more employees must provide up to 56 hours of paid sick and safe leave in a calendar year. In either case, employers are not required to allow an employee to use more than 80 hours of earned sick and safe leave in a calendar year.

See the frequently asked questions or get the informational poster for more information.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Town Hall Meeting for Students

This year we will hold the always-popular Town Hall Meeting for Students on Wednesday, October 5, at the Council Office Building in Rockville. The meeting will be held in the Council’s Third Floor Hearing Room beginning at 7:30 p.m. A pre-meeting reception will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the building’s second-floor cafeteria.

The October meeting is open to high school, middle school and local college students. The meeting will allow the participants to let Councilmembers know how they feel about specific issues and also will provide the opportunity to ask questions of us in an organized, but informal, setting.

The event will be broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery (CCM—cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and rebroadcast at various times in the weeks following the meeting. Susan Kenedy, a producer for the County station, will moderate the meeting.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Vote by Mail Applications Available Now

Here's the full press release from the Board of Elections:

Any registered voter who wants to vote by mail may request an application online to vote in the Presidential General Election as long as they have a Maryland driver’s license or MVA-issued ID card. If you request a vote by mail ballot, it will be your official ballot and you will not be able to vote on the paper based, digital image scan voting system at the polls on Election Day on November 8, or during Early Voting, October 27 – November 3.

To apply for a vote by mail ballot, visit our website – www.777vote.org – and select Vote by Mail. Follow the instructions for completing the application which may be mailed, faxed (240-777-8560) or e-mailed absentee@montgomerycountymd.gov) to the Board of Elections. To obtain an application for another person, please call 240-777-8550 for detailed information.

The deadlines for receipt of your completed application are as follows: 

  • If you want your ballot mailed to you, your deadline is Tuesday, November 1, 2016. If you mail or deliver this form, your election office must have it by 8 pm. If you fax or email it, they must have it by 11:59 pm. 
  • If you want to print your on-line delivery ballot from the State Board of Elections’ website, your deadline is Friday, November 4, 2016. If you mail or deliver this form, your election office must have it by 5 pm. If you fax or email it, they must have it by 11:59 pm. 
 After the aforementioned dates, absentee ballot applications need to be requested in person at our office – 18753 N. Frederick Avenue, Suite 210, in Gaithersburg. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. During Early Voting, October 27 – November 3, the office is open from 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 15 and November 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; on October 22 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.; and on Sunday October 23 and November 6 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections wishes to remind voters that impersonating another voter or casting a ballot on behalf of another person is a crime. If you see or hear of any attempted vote fraud, contact the State Attorney’s Office at 410-576-6300 or 1-888-743-0023 toll free in Maryland or via TDD at 410-576-6372.

For more information on voting by mail call 240-777-VOTE, visit www.777vote.org, our mobile app at m.montgomerycountymd.gov/elections, the Maryland State Board of Elections’ website at http://elections.state.md.us, or follow the Montgomery County Board of Elections on Facebook or Twitter.

Your Time, Your Voice, Your Vote!

Media Contact: 240-777-8625

Friday, September 2, 2016

Pop Up Programs in the Parks

Stop by one of these free Montgomery Parks' Pop Up programs scheduled this fall for various urban parks:

  • September 1, 8, 15 at 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Seated Massage, Caroline Freeland Urban Park, 7200 Arlington Road, Bethesda
  • September 10 and October 1 at 10 a.m. - Noon: Tai Chi, Fairview Urban Park, 8900 Fairview Road, Silver Spring
  • September 17 and 25 at 11 a.m.- Noon: Bollywood Dancing, Elm Street Urban Park, 4600 Elm Street, Bethesda
No registration is required, just show up!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Holiday Schedule for Labor Day

Here's our holiday schedule for Labor Day, Monday, September 5:

  • County Offices – closed
  • Libraries – closed
  • County Liquor stores – all Country liquor stores will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. All stores with Monday deliveries will get their morning deliveries at the normal time.
  • Recreation – Bethesda, Germantown, Western County, Wheaton/Glenmont and MLK outdoor aquatic facilities will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Olney Indoor Swim Center will be open normal hours; all other indoor aquatic facilities, as well as the Long Branch and Upper County outdoor pools, will be closed. Administrative offices, senior centers and community centers are closed.
  • Montgomery Parks - For operating schedule, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org
  • Ride On – Will operate on a Sunday schedule
  • Metrorail – Information available at www.wmata.com
  • Metrobus – Information available at www.wmata.com
  • TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) – closed
  • Refuse/recycling pickup – no collection. Collection provided one day later for remainder of the week. (Last collection is Saturday). More information available at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/sws/holidays/
  • The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station - closed
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
  • MCPS Schools and Administrative Offices – closed 
  • State offices and courts – closed

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New President and CEO of Economic Development Corporation

The Board of Directors of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation has announced that David Petr will become the first president and Chief Executive Officer of the new public/private venture beginning September 6. Petr joins MCEDC from the Central Florida Development Council, Inc., where he was the president and CEO.

As the former president and CEO of the Central Florida Development Council, Petr successfully transitioned the organization from a public/private partnership to a private organization, while achieving record-setting job creation and capital investment results during his tenure. The MCEDC Board believes his unique talents in organizational transformation and team building, while running a high-performing economic development program, will align well to the immediate and long-term needs of MCEDC.

Petr expressed his excitement to come to Montgomery County and to be part of the bold, new public/private partnership. "There's never been a better time for Montgomery County. I am honored to fuel prosperity as one of the many leaders of the organization. Collaboration and creativity will drive us to deliver results for the residents of the County and region, and enhance our collective quality of life."

Last year the Council approved the reorganization of the County's Department of Economic Development into a new non-profit organization that would have more flexibility in many aspects--including retaining current businesses and attracting new ones to the County.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Town Hall Meeting for Olney

Let us know what matters most to you at our Town Hall Meeting for the Olney area on Wednesday, September 14, at Rosa Parks Middle School (19200 Olney Mill Road) beginning at 8 p.m. with a pre-meeting reception at 7:30. You can voice your opinions on specific issues and ask questions of us in an organized, but informal, setting. I hope to see you there.

The meeting will be taped for later broadcast on County Cable Montgomery (CCM—cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). For more information about the Town Hall Meeting or about the broadcast times, call 240-777-7931.

Long Branch Apartment Fire: How to Help

Donations for Piney Branch Apartment Explosion Victims

MAIL (via check) FINANCIAL DONATION
Mail it to:
Montgomery Housing Partnership
(Attn: Long Branch Fire)
12200 Tech Road, Suite 250
Silver Spring, MD 20904
[*] Write LONG BRANCH FIRE in check memo

ON-LINE FINANCIAL DONATION
(Easiest - and preferred!)
[1] Go to: www.MHPartners.org
[2] Click on "Give Direct" (on right side of your screen)
[3] Input amount and credit card number
[*] Make sure you indicate LONG BRANCH FIRE in the 'comment' box:

GOODS (Toiletries, canned/boxed food, clothing)
CASH DONATIONS

CASA Welcome Center
734 University Blvd East
(Off University Blvd, just south of Piney Branch)

A Wider Circle
Phone #:301-608-3504
Address: 9151 Brookeville Rd., Silver Spring, MD 20910
Call for pick-up
drop-off furniture 7 days a week

Adventist Community Services of Greater Washington
Phone #: 301-585-6556
Address: 501 Sligo Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Make donations:
Cash Donations - Checks can be sent to ACSGW at 501 Sligo Avenue,
Silver Spring, MD 20910 (Make checks payable to ACSGW) Emergency Fund.
On-line and pay via PayPal and mark it “Other” or Emergency Fund @ www.acsgw.org
Clothing, houseware items, toiletries, blankets, sheets, etc. --- No furniture

ACSGW will be open for calls and services at the following days and times during this weekend:
Friday – 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Saturday – 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.
Sunday – 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.

Spanish speaking Case Manager at ACSGW for any help or questions.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Public Channels in HD Coming Soon

Soon you'll be able to watch Council meetings (and a lot of other good programming) in HD. Montgomery County’s community cable PEG (Public / Education / Government) television stations will take a big step in bringing in-depth local information to residents on October 1 when they add broadcasts in high definition to subscribers of Comcast and RCN services.

Under newly approved franchise agreements, you can continue to get broadcasts of the community stations on standard definition channels, but now you'll also get four HD station with a fifth HD community station to be added in 2018. If you subscribe to Verizon, you will continue to be able to view the community stations only in SD formats.

HDTV is a digital TV broadcasting format where the broadcast transmits widescreen pictures with more detail and quality than found in a standard analog television. HDTV is considered to be the best quality digital television format available. HDTV, which requires an HDTV tuner to view, provides the most detailed format of 1080i.

The PEG channels that will be available in HD are:

  • Public access Montgomery Community Media (MCM—will broadcast on HD Channel 995 on Comcast, HD Channel 1055 on RCN).
  • Government channel County Cable Montgomery (CCM—will broadcast on HD Channel 996 on Comcast, HD Channel 1056 on RCN).
  • The community channels of the cities of Rockville and Takoma Park and of the Montgomery Municipal Channel will combine as the Municipal Broadcast Network (MBN—will broadcast on HD Channel 997 on Comcast, HD Channel 1057 on RCN).
  • The combined education channels of Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery College (MCPS/MC—will broadcast on HD Channel 998 on Comcast, HD Channel 1058 on RCN).

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Shop Tax-Free Week Starts Sunday

The second Sunday of August to the following Saturday is designated as Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week each year. That means qualifying apparel and footwear $100 or less, per item, are exempt from the state sales tax. Accessory items are not included. The Shop Maryland Tax-Free Week for 2016 is Sunday, August 14 - Saturday, August 20.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Send Your Fan Mail to Local Olympians

Show your support for the four County athletes who are going for the gold at the Summer Olympics. Every library branch has established a station where you can deliver fan mail or messages to the athletes.

Montgomery County is home to four of the 11 athletes representing Maryland on the 2016 U.S. Olympic roster. More than 10,500 athletes from 204 nations are expected to participate in 28 sports, including the highly anticipated reinstatement of golf and rugby.

  • Jack Conger from Rockville will be competing in the 4x200m freestyle swimming event. Conger graduated from Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in 2013.
  • Katie Ledecky, former gold medalist from the 2012 Olympics will compete in the 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 800m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle. Ledecky, from Bethesda, graduated from Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in 2015.
  • Ashley Nee from Bethesda will compete in the canoe slalom. Nee graduated from Northwestern High School.
  • Helen Maroulis, a former Col. Zadok Magruder High School student, is a wrestler who will be competing in the freestyle 53 kg.
You can stop by any of the library branches to drop-off your letters or cards. The fan mail stations will be available during regularly scheduled hours through August 21. The letters will be delivered to the athletes after the Olympics.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Montgomery County Agricultural Fair August 12-20

Mark your calendar for the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair August 12-20. This showcase of farm life in Montgomery County features live animals, carnival rides, a variety of entertainment, food and fun activities for all ages. Kids especially enjoy the opportunity to see all kinds of farm animals up close, including prize-winning goats, sheep, pigs, dairy cattle and horses. Live entertainment includes monster trucks, demolition derby, tractor pull and much more. You can also purchase quilting, clothing, canned goods, baked goods and vegetables from local farmers and enjoy arts and crafts exhibits of local youth.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Letter Requesting Delay of Beach Drive Closures until after Surge 10

The Chair of the T&E Committee and I sent this letter to the National Park Service asking for the delay of an upcoming rehabilitation project on Beach Drive in order to to avoid additional difficulties during Metro's Surge 10.

August 2, 2016

Tara D. Morrison, Superintendent
Rock Creek Park
National Park Service
3545 Williamsburg Lane NW
Washington, D.C. 20008-1207

Dear Superintendent Morrison:

We recently learned of the National Park Service’s plan to rehabilitate Beach Drive between the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway and the Montgomery County/District of Columbia boundary.  We understand that the project will take three years to complete and will require four sequential closures of segments of Beach Drive, starting shortly after Labor Day.  Along with its recreational functions, Beach Drive is an important commuter route for Montgomery County residents reaching their jobs in downtown Washington, and its closures will mean longer commutes for our residents and more congestion on many District streets for the duration of the project.

We understand the need for this project.  However, the first phase of the rehabilitation comes at a very inopportune time, coinciding with the upcoming closure of a portion of Metrorail’s Red Line as part of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s SafeTrack Program.  Specifically, it would overlap with SafeTrack’s Surge #10, which will shut down the Red Line between the Fort Totten and NoMa Stations for 23 days between October 10 and November 1.  Most of the rest of the Red Line will have much reduced service: 70% less between Silver Spring and Fort Totten; and 40% less between Grosvenor and NoMa.  WMATA estimates that Surge #10 will impact 108,000 trips every weekday during this period; this is by far the most impactive surge of the 15 WMATA has planned.

Although Montgomery County and Maryland are attempting to mitigate this lack of capacity by running free shuttle buses along the Red Line and are encouraging carpooling, biking, and other alternative modes of commuting, we suspect that a large proportion of the 108,000 weekday trips will be added to the street system, particularly Blair Road/North Capitol Street, Georgia Avenue, 13th Street, 16th Street, Connecticut Avenue, and Wisconsin Avenue.  This will slow down our residents’ commute and will further congest streets running through the District’s Wards 1-4.  The closure of Beach Drive between Calvert Street and Tilden Street—the first planned closure—will only serve to exacerbate the problem.

We urge you to postpone the first closure until after Surge #10 is completed on November 1.  We would like to meet with you very shortly to discuss how this can be accomplished.  My staff will be in touch to try to find a time this week.

Sincerely,

Nancy Floreen
President, Montgomery County Council

Roger Berliner
Vice-President, Montgomery County Council
Chair, Transportation Infrastructure Energy and Environment Committee

cc:
The Honorable Benjamin Cardin, U.S. Senate

The Honorable Barbara Mikulski, U.S. Senate
The Honorable Christopher Van Hollen, U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Isiah Leggett, Montgomery County Executive
The Honorable Muriel Bowser, Mayor, District of Columbia
The Honorable Brianne Nadeau, D.C. Councilmember, Ward 1
The Honorable Jack Evans, D.C. Councilmember, Ward 2
The Honorable Mary Cheh, D.C. Councilmember, Ward 3
The Honorable Brandon Todd, D.C. Councilmember, Ward 4
Al Roshdieh, Director, Montgomery County Department of Transportation
Leif Dormsjo, Director, D.C. Department of Transportation
Montgomery County Councilmembers


Friday, July 29, 2016

Council Office Building Gets Solar Panels

The next time you are in the Council Office Building, take a look at our new rooftop solar panels. The solar energy system is expected to generate more than 53,000 kilowatt hours of energy each year.

The solar panel project at the Council Office Building is part of a larger Montgomery County initiative to generate clean solar energy on-site at County-owned facilities. With 75 percent of the projects completed, the Solar and Advanced Energy Initiative is on track to bring six megawatts of solar power on line this year. That is enough electricity to power more than 600 single-family homes.

The County’s solar projects will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 870 cars off the road or planting 100,000 trees. In addition, the projects will save the County $11 million in energy costs over the next 20 years.

The Department of General Services deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the fantastic job they have been doing with renewable energy all over the County. Of course, this project seems extra special because it is so close to home for us, but it is really a part of a much larger program of sustainability.

Montgomery County has fully operating solar energy systems at 11 facilities, including the Gaithersburg Library, the Rockville Library, Potomac Community Center, Jane Lawton Recreation Center in Chevy Chase, the Up-County Regional Services Center in Germantown, the Silver Spring Civic Building, Fire Station No. 31 in North Potomac, the Montgomery County Circuit Court South Tower in Rockville, the Shady Grove Transfer Station, the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control in Darnestown and the Equipment Maintenance and Transit Operations Center.