Monday, August 31, 2009

Labor Day Holiday Schedule

Holiday Schedule for Labor Day

I hope you enjoy your holiday weekend. Here’s the County government schedule for Labor Day on Monday, September 7:

County offices—closed


County liquor stores—open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the exception of the following stores which will be closed: Cabin John, Diamond Square and Twinbrook

Ride On—Sunday schedule

Metrobus—Sunday schedule

Metrorail—Sunday schedule

Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters—free

Refuse/recycling pick-up—no collection (all collections scheduled on or after the holiday will be made one day later that week)

Transfer Station—closed

MCPS administrative offices—closed

State offices and courts—closed

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Biotech Company to Add 50 New Jobs

With the unemployment rate in Montgomery County at a record high (see my July 28 post), I’m glad to hear that RNL Biostar will add 50 jobs in the County in the next three years. The company just opened a new 4,000 square-foot stem cell R&D and manufacturing facility at the Germantown Innovation Center (GIC). The GIC opened last fall as part of the Montgomery County Business Innovation Network.

RNL Biostar joins 22 other GIC companies that have established or expanded a presence in the County because of numerous business assets, including 300-plus biotech companies, 19 federal research and regulatory agencies, nearly 60,000 public and private sector life sciences professionals and the highest per capita concentration of PhDs in the nation. Welcome, RNL Biostar!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Decline in Deer-Vehicle Collisions

A new report shows a continued slow decline in deer-vehicle collisions in the county for the seventh year in a row, but also calls attention to an increase in resident complaints about deer damage, particularly in Montgomery County’s more urbanized areas. To see the Montgomery County Deer Management Work Group’s report, go to

Friday, August 21, 2009

School Supply Drive Tomorrow

Here’s your chance to help children succeed. Westfield Wheaton shopping mall and Montgomery County Public Schools are partnering to collect back-to-school supplies for MCPS students who need them. Drop off your school supplies at the mall between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. tomorrow. Learn more at

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

County Issues Flu Recommendations

Here’s the latest info on H1N1 flu. Montgomery County Health officials urge residents to begin now to prepare for the expected resurgence of the H1N1 pandemic influenza virus and the upcoming seasonal influenza by doing the following:

  • Plan to get vaccinated for the seasonal flu as soon as vaccine is available. Seasonal flu is a separate virus that will also be circulating in the fall and can also cause serious illness. Seasonal flu vaccinations will be readily available through County flu vaccination clinics and, private health providers, as well as at retail locations throughout the community. Anyone not wanting to get the flu should receive the seasonal flu vaccination, particularly the elderly, household members living with children younger than six months of age, health care workers and individuals with chronic illnesses.
  • Individuals who are in the target groups for the H1N1 vaccine--persons six months of age up to 24 years, health care and EMS workers, as well as pregnant women and individuals 25 to 64 years with chronic conditions that put them at risk for severe complications--are urged to take advantage of H1N1 vaccinations that will be available later in the fall.
    The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits can often help stop the spread of germs and prevent illnesses like the flu.
  • Businesses and organizations should plan and prepare for a reduced workforce if many become ill or need to stay at home.

Check the County’s H1N1 website— for updated information and resources.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

2000 Tower Oaks Goes Platinum

Congratulations to The Tower Companies and Lerner Enterprises on having their 2000 Tower Oaks Boulevard project certified as one of the first commercial LEED Platinum office buildings in the State of Maryland.

Here are some of the features that make the building so great:

--designed Earn the ENERGY STAR and reduced total building energy consumption by 28%;
--Green-E certified Renewable Energy Certificates were purchased for 100% wind power for the building’s total annual electric energy usage;
--a four-stage air filtration system circulates at least 30% more outside air than required by code, turns over every 51 minutes, controls odors and removes over 90% of airborne contaminants;
--outdoor airflow devices and CO2 monitors increase fresh air when necessary;
--reduced building water consumption by 41%, drought resistant plantings reduce the required water for irrigation by 60%, and condensate water provides 100% of the building’s irrigation needs;
--stormwater runoff is captured and treated (naturally filtered) on-site in the stormwater pond;
--90% of occupants have outside views;
--night-sky light pollution and light trespass from the site is minimized;
--electromagnetic field (EMF) shielding around all major electrical rooms;
--22% of the total building materials contain recycled content and 22% of the building materials were extracted and manufactured within a 500-mile radius; and
--over 85% of the construction waste was recycled.

With these enhancements, the project qualifies for the Maryland Green Building Tax Credit and will earn credits of over $1.6 million. I was glad to join Comptroller Peter Franchot, The Tower Companies partner Jeffrey Abramson and Lerner Enterprises principal and CEO, Theodore N. Lerner at this week’s certification event. And I’m looking forward to more green projects like this one coming to Montgomery County.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Endorsing Light Rail for Purple Line

Yesterday I joined Governor Martin O’Malley and other stakeholders to endorse light rail as the mode of transit for the Purple Line, which I'm sure you know is a proposed 16-mile extended east-west link to the Metrorail system from the Bethesda to the New Carrollton stations. The light rail supporters gathered yesterday morning at the New Carrollton Metrorail Station.

The Purple Line would connect the four branches of the Metrorail system, three MARC commuter rail routes and several inside-the-Beltway activity centers (including Bethesda, Silver Spring, Langley Park, the University of Maryland’s College Park campus, Riverdale and New Carrollton). The estimated cost of the project is between $1.2 and $1.3 billion. Planners from the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) hope construction can begin in 2012.

In January, the County Council unanimously recommended light rail be selected for the Purple Line. That followed a similar recommendation from the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, which I chair.

I am glad that Governor O’Malley has decided that the Purple Line is right for Montgomery County and light rail is right for the Purple Line. Ridership on the Purple Line is projected as high as about 63,000 daily for a light rail system, including approximately 20,000 new riders to mass transit. The other projected riders would be those who already use a form of mass transit, but would find their commutes greatly enhanced through shorter, more reliable trips.

It is estimated that final design of the Purple Line would be ready by Fall 2011.