Monday, April 28, 2014

Three Ways to Vote in the June 24 Primary

Don't let summer vacation get in the way of voting in the 2014 Primary Election. The election is earlier than ever this time, but the good news is that there are several easy options for casting your ballot.

Vote by Mail
Any voter can vote by mail. Download the absentee ballot request form and send it to the Board of Elections by June 17.

Vote Early
Early Voting is available June 12–19, 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. at any of the nine early voting sites:

  • Jane E. Lawton Community Recreation Center, 4301 Willow Lane, Chevy Chase
  • Wheaton Community Recreation Center, 11711 Georgia Avenue, Wheaton
  • Silver Spring Civic Building, 1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring
  • Montgomery County Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville
  • Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, 14906 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville
  • Mid-County Community Recreation Center, 2004 Queensguard Road, Silver Spring
  • Germantown Recreation Center, 18905 Kingsview Road, Germantown
  • Activity Center at Bohrer Park, 506 South Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg
  • Damascus Community Recreation Center, 25520 Oak Drive, Damascus 
Vote on Election Day
Local precincts will be open 7:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 24.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Census Bureau to Add 1,000 Temporary Jobs in Montgomery County

Here's the press release:

The U.S. Census Bureau is committed to making the next nationwide census in 2020 quick, easy and safe for all to participate, regardless of how residents choose to respond -- via the Internet, telephone or traditional paper questionnaires.

As part of this commitment to find better and more economical ways for collecting data, the bureau will conduct a 2014 Census Test this summer that will allow the agency, on a small scale, to test a variety of new methods and advance technologies that are being considered for the 2020 Census. The bureau has chosen Montgomery County and the District of Columbia in which to conduct the test, which will take place from June 23 through September 25.

County Executive Ike Leggett said, “I am proud that the U.S. Census Bureau has selected Montgomery County, along with the District, to be a testing ground for their effort to reduce the cost to taxpayers while improving delivery of and response to the next national Census in 2020. We were selected primarily because of the high response from County residents to the 2010 Census, so I am optimistic that we will respond in the same way to the test this summer.”

A temporary Local Census Office (LCO) will open on Monday, April 28 in Silver Spring at 8401 Colesville Rd. (seventh floor). The bureau is hiring 1,000 people for temporary field staff positions that pay from $18 per hour for enumerators and crew leaders’ assistants to $20 an hour for crew leaders. Persons hired as crew leaders will begin July 2, while the assistants and enumerators will start on July 21.

Find information online about how to apply or for more information and to schedule for testing, call 1-888-480-1639.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Golden Shovel Awards Presented at Today's Council Meeting

Congratulations to all 111 Golden Shovel award winners. Today we honored Montgomery County residents who went above and beyond to help their neighbors dig out during this year's snowy winter. Among the roughly 60 people who came to the County Council today for the ceremony were Joseph and Christiane Rosamont of Silver Spring. Here's what the Rosamonts' neighbor, Veronica Thomas, said about the couple:

"It is with great pleasure that I am nominating my neighbors, Joseph and Christiane Rosamont for the Golden Shovel Award. Christiane and Joe are my neighbors who have always helped me to clear my walkway during and after a snow storm knowing that my special needs son, Eric, is a wheelchair bound.

Though I have always apprciated their good will and generosity, this winter was a testament to their unselfish and willingness to help. On three occasions after they both helped me to clean the walkway after the snow storms, the snow plow came and plowed us back in making it impossible for wheelchair access to the curb where my son boards Metro Access to his day program. My two 'angels' were right back to help dig a path wide enough to get the wheelchair out.

I know there must be others like Joe and Christiane in Montgomery County, but they will only come in a close second. Thanks for this opportunity to submit my neighbors for such an award."

This is just one of many heartfelt nominations I received from extremely grateful neighbors. See the full list of winners. While there are indeed a lot of great stories to tell, I want to specially recognize Richard Hoye, Steve Leon and Tim and Debbie Marsh, who each received multiple nominations from their neighbors. If you want to see the awards presentation on demand (Council sessions are available 24 hours later), visit County Cable Montgomery.

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 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, 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.