Friday, April 27, 2012

Diversity is our Competitive Strength

Take a look at this fantastic video shown at yesterday’s IMPACT Silver Spring breakfast gala. The video makes a powerful statement that Montgomery County’s diversity is our competitive strength. My hat is off to IMPACT for its commitment to creating the environments and capacity needed to build and sustain thriving, multicultural communities and also to Gandhi Brigade for producing the video. Kudos all around.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fenton Street Market Opens Saturday

The very popular Fenton Street Market will be back in action starting this Saturday, April 28. Visit Veterans Plaza at the corner of Fenton Street and Ellsworth Drive Saturdays 10:00-4:00 from now until the end of October for exceptional vendors that sell everything from unique artwork to bonsai trees to handmade jewelry and everything in between. You can also enjoy engaging community programming and talented musicians. Although the market’s future was in question for awhile, Montgomery County has now awarded it a three-year contract to operate on the plaza, thanks in part to dedicated community activism. Opening day will feature performances from Israel Dempsey and Snakehead Run. Pyramid Atlantic will teach screen printing from noon to 2:00.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

StartRight! Women’s Business Plan Competition

Sharpen your pencils for the 2012 StartRight! Business Plan Competition, designed to give new businesses a boost with cash prizes, publicity and an opportunity for review and recommendations from an experienced panel of judges from area businesses, financial institutions, organizations, government agencies and colleges. To be eligible, your business must be at least 51 percent women owned and must be in business for two years or less (or even pre-operational). To learn more, visit Rockville Economic Development, Inc. The deadline for executive summaries is June 6.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What is Zoning?

Check out M-NCPPC’s short and very informative video, What is Zoning? to find out what zoning means for our community and what it means for you.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Second Glenmont Garage Now Open

What a beautiful day for this morning’s opening ceremony for the new Glenmont Metro Station parking garage. It is a welcome addition to the very popular station as it nearly doubles the amount of parking.

This second garage at Glenmont Station is on the west side of Georgia Avenue and replaced one of the station’s Kiss & Ride lots. It adds 1,200 parking spaces, bringing the total number of parking spaces at Glenmont to 3,000.

A canopy connects the garage entrance to the Metrorail entrance. The garage features customer assistance phones, extra lighting, digital security cameras and a police room to enhance security. Parking at the garage costs $4.75, and you can use a SmartTrip fare card or credit card for payment.

Most end-of-line Metro stations have at least 3,000 parking spaces to encourage commuters coming from areas with fewer transit options to use alternative transportation for at least part of their trip. The lack of available parking at Glenmont caused many commuters who wanted to take transit to actually drive further to find space in another parking garage, or even forgo the use of transit altogether.

Metro managed the design/build project for the County and contracted with Forrester Construction Company, a local Rockville firm. The garage will be operated and maintained by Metro.

The Glenmont Metro Station first opened in 1999. With an average of about 6,000 weekday boardings, the station has the fifth highest ridership of transit stations in Montgomery County.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Council Tentatively Approves Wheaton Redevelopment Program

Yesterday we unanimously gave tentative approval to the Wheaton Redevelopment Program. It will guide revitalization of Wheaton’s downtown area, with more than $66.1 million committed to create a civic core in the heart of downtown Wheaton. This plan gets Wheaton moving by providing a new employment presence, green space and a long-term commitment to doing what it takes to make Wheaton shine.

One significant part of the plan will be the County’s commitment to build a 150,000 square foot headquarters building for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) and large town square—with ample green space—on what is known as Parking Lot 13 near Triangle Lane. The site currently includes approximately 150 to 160 parking spaces. It is estimated that a new government office building will bring more than 400 employees to downtown Wheaton each day. The project will not only include employee parking, but also will include public parking to replace the spaces lost on Parking Lot 13.

Over the next two years, the County will conduct a series of studies to prepare for redevelopment and begin designing the government-owned building and the town square. The plan also includes funding to study and begin planning construction of a platform above the WMATA (Metro) bus bay site at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Veirs Mill Road.

The Wheaton Redevelopment Program was established in 2000, with the goal of encouraging private reinvestment through targeted, complementary public investment. The Council will formally approve the plan when it approves the six-year Capital Improvements Program in late May.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Earth Day Events in Montgomery County

Check out these Earth Day events scheduled throughout the County:

Volunteer Opportunities

These activities are approved for Student Service Learning hours for Montgomery County Public School students.

Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Calleva Outdoor Adventures, Potomac Community Resources and Potomac River Keeper’s 5th Annual Inclusive Earth Day Event at Riley’s Lock. Help clean up the park, paint and repair benches and fences, replace grills, clean up embankments from land and water, and remove flood debris and invasive weeds. Volunteers should bring labeled garden gloves, rakes, clippers, shovels and wheelbarrows. To pre-register, contact Karen Seibert at 301-216-1248 or

Saturday, April 14, 9 a.m. – Noon – The Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA), 707 Conservation Lane, Gaithersburg. Help with habitat restoration, tree planting and litter clean-up. Enjoy conservation and nature demonstrations, kid’s trout fishing and refreshments. A free, reusable IWLA shopping bag will be given to the first 100 participants. Call 301-548-0150 or visit

Saturday, April 14, 9 a.m. – Noon – Alice Ferguson Foundation’s 24th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup. Volunteers will pick up trash from different cleanup sites around the region. To find a site, visit, or call 202-973-8203.

Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22, 9 a.m. – Noon – Montgomery County Road Runners Club will clean up the Rock Creek and Matthew Henson trails. Onsite registration on both days beginning at 8 a.m. at KenGar Recreation Center, 11000 Beach Drive, Kensington. Contact Fred Carson at or call 301-933-2919.

Saturday, April 28, 9 a.m. – Noon – “Helping Out the Dragonflies.” The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) is looking for volunteers to help clean up trash and invasive weeds at the Brown’s Bridge Recreation Area, 2220 Ednor Road, Silver Spring. During the summer months, this is the best spot to see dragonflies and damselflies in central Maryland, but they don’t need trash and weeds covering up their food sources. Students under 15 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. WSSC provides gloves and garden snippers. Contact Kimberly Knox at, or visit the website for more activities at

Recycling Activities

The County’s Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Solid Waste Services (DSWS) is sponsoring the following activities to provide residents with the opportunity to recycle unwanted electronics and shred and recycle confidential papers.

Saturday, April 21, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Paper shredding and recycling event at Seneca Valley High School, 19401 Crystal Rock Drive, Germantown. Bring confidential papers for on-site shredding and recycling. Five paper bags or boxes per household. Visit

Sunday, April 22, Noon – 4 p.m. – Electronics Recycling Event at John F. Kennedy High School, 1901 Randolph Road, Silver Spring. Bring unwanted or unused electronic items for recycling collection. Accepted items include: small electronic appliances, calculators, camcorders, CDs and floppy disks, CD players, cell phones, computers and computer-related items, copiers, cords and cables (including chargers), digital cameras, electronic typewriters, fax machines, microwave ovens, personal digital assistant equipment, projection equipment, scanners, telephones, small electronic toys, televisions and VCRs.

Environmental Education Events/Activities

Monday, April 23, 6 p.m. – Composting Workshop at Whole Foods, 11355 Woodglen Drive, Rockville.

The Division of Solid Waste Services will provide customers with information about composting. Compost bins will be available to County residents at no charge.

Saturday, April 28, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Seneca Wastewater Treatment Plant Open House, 12600 Great Seneca Highway, Germantown. See how wastewater is treated so it can be safely released back into the environment.

For more information and additional opportunities for Earth Day, call 240-777-2600 or visit the Volunteer Center website at

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Apply Now to Charter Review Commission

We are accepting applications to fill two unexpired terms on the Charter Review Commission. The appointee may be a Democrat, Republican or someone who declines to affiliate with a party, or a member of another party officially recognized by the Board of Elections.

Submit your letter of interest by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11.

The County Charter was amended in 1976 to provide that a Charter Review Commission be appointed by the County Council every four years to study the Charter. The Commission researches and evaluates Charter issues raised by the County Executive, County Council, other government officials, and the public. Commission reports are submitted no later than May 1 of every even-numbered year. These reports contain recommendations concerning any proposed Charter amendments.

The Commission is composed of 11 residents of the County, five of whom are appointed from a list of names submitted by the County Executive. No more than six members can be from the same political party. Since six Democrats are currently serving on the Commission, applications from Democrats will not be considered for this particular vacancy.

Send your letter of interest with a resume to: Roger Berliner, President, Montgomery County Council, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, Maryland 20850. Resumes should include professional and civic experience, political party affiliation, home and office telephone numbers and an e-mail address. Letters and resumes submitted are made public as part of the appointment process. Members of County boards, committees and commissions may not serve on more than one such group at a time.

For more information about the Charter Review Commission or how to apply for consideration to become a commission member, call Linda Lauer at 240-777-7979.

Public Hearings on Budget Next Week

Have you had a chance to look at the County Executive's recommended operating budget for FY13? Let us know what you think about the it by testifying at any of the five scheduled public hearings. They will be held on April 10 at 7:00 p.m., April 11 at 1:30 p.m., April 11 at 7:00 p.m., April 12 at 1:30 p.m. and April 12 at 7:00 p.m. To register to speak, call 240-777-7803.

The hearings will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and also will be available via streaming through the County Web site.

Over coming weeks, the Council and its six committees will analyze the recommendations, and we will adopt the FY13 budget in late May. The budget will take effect on July 1.

If you can’t make the public hearings, you can still let us know your views by e-mailing