Friday, February 26, 2016
February 23, 2016
Senator Nancy J. King
Montgomery County Senate Delegation Chair
11 Bladen Street
223 James Senate Office Building
Annapolis, MD 21401
Delegate Shane Robinson
Montgomery County House Delegation Chair
6 Bladen Street
223 House Office Building
Annapolis, MD 21401
Dear Senator King, Delegate Robinson and the Montgomery County Delegation:
As we are all painfully aware, one of our Police Officers, Noah Leotta, was struck and killed by a drunk driver less than three months ago. Officer Leotta was one of nine people killed in Montgomery County last year as the result of a drunk driver.
The Montgomery County Council joins our Police Chief in calling for the State of Maryland to strengthen our laws against drunk and impaired driving. There are several pieces of legislation that have been proposed that would stop impaired individuals from driving in the first place as well as act as a real deterrent for those drunk drivers who are endangering every other motorist.
On behalf of the entire Montgomery County Council, I am asking for your complete support of the four Montgomery County-sponsored DUI-related bills that are being championed by Chief J. Thomas Manger and are being heard this session. Those bills are: HB 345, HB409, HB 735, and HB 1342 (and their cross-files). We believe that these bills are the strongest legislation pending and need unanimous support by our delegation.
As you deliberate these bills, please consider these sobering facts:
- Last year 20,000 people were arrested for DUI in Maryland. Research has shown that a drunk driver gets behind the wheel of a car, impaired, 80 times before they are caught by police.
- Convicted drunk drivers frequently drive even though their license is suspended.
- The best way to stop convicted drunk drivers from driving impaired is to mandate an ignition interlock system after their first arrest. This device prevents impaired drivers from being able to start their car if they have had alcohol. Last year, an ignition interlock system prevented impaired drivers from starting their cars 18,000 times.
- Two Wootten High School students died last year in a drunk-driving crash. The parents who hosted an alcohol party and provided the liquor to underage kids faced only a fine after being responsible for these two deaths.
- Officer Noah Leotta was killed by a three-time repeat drunk driver. The driver had a blood-alcohol level that was nearly three times the legal limit for intoxication. Despite his callous indifference to the law and the safety of others, this driver will likely spend only a few years in jail.
- Businesses that serve underage drinkers and over-serve drunk individuals in their establishments currently do not face civil penalties if someone gets killed or injured by a drunk driver. Maryland is one of only a few states left that does not hold businesses liable for illegal alcohol sales.
County Council President
Cc: Honorable Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., Maryland President of Senate
Honorable Michael Erin Busch, Maryland Speaker of House of Delegates
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
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. 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. The deadline for nominations is March 25, and awards will be presented at a County Council session in Rockville on Tuesday, April 19. Get the nomination form.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Here's our holiday schedule for Presidents’ Day, Monday February 15:
- County Offices – closed
- Libraries – closed
- County Liquor stores – closed
- Recreation – aquatic facilities and community centers open; aquatics programs will meet as scheduled; all other classes and programs cancelled; administrative offices and senior centers closed; 55+ Active Adult Programs are cancelled
- Montgomery Parks - visit www.MontgomeryParks.org
- Ride On – Modified holiday schedule - check schedules at www.Rideonbus.com
- Metrorail –Will operate from 5 a.m. to midnight on a Saturday schedule. Off-peak fares all day and free parking at all Metro-operated facilities
- Metrobus – Will operate on its Saturday supplemental schedule. MetroAccess will operate normal hours with subscription trips cancelled unless specifically requested. Additional information available at www.wmata.com
- TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) - closed
- Refuse/recycling pickup – no collection, all collections scheduled on or after the holiday will be made one day later in the week. Monday collections on Tuesday; Tuesday collections made on Wednesday; Wednesday collections on Thursday; Thursday collections on Friday; and Friday collections on Saturday
- The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station - recycling and trash drop-off open with normal hours. Recycling Center and administrative offices closed
- Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
- MCPS Schools and Administrative Offices – closed
- State offices and courts – closed
Monday, February 8, 2016
In response to predicted inclement weather tomorrow morning, we have made these changes to the Council's schedule:
- Cancelled: Briefing on blizzard of 2016 clean up is cancelled and will be rescheduled for a date in March.
- Delayed start: Council session will begin at 12:30 p.m.
- Earlier start time: GO/PHED Committee will begin at 1:45 p.m.
- Postponed: The 7:00 pm CIP public hearing is postponed to Wednesday, February 10, at 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Winter storm Jonas was certainly one for the record books! With up to 38 inches of snow and gusty winds, we were extremely fortunate that our residents remained safe and that we had no significant power outages. I appreciate the patience and teamwork that our residents showed throughout this historic storm. Community members checked on elderly neighbors, helped stranded motorists, and pitched in to clear neighborhood sidewalks. (We will start taking Golden Shovel Award nominations in March, so stay tuned.)
For those who have concerns with the responsiveness of the County’s Division of Highway Services, the data provided on the snow map and the MC311 call system, all of these issues and more will be reviewed by the County Council on February 9 at 11:00 a.m. I have requested that Executive staff from all departments involved in storm operations participate in a debriefing with the Council, so we can better understand the decisions made by the department heads and staff who are responsible for these activities. While many aspects of the recovery efforts worked well, some issues need to be addressed. There is always room for improvement. You can watch this meeting live or on demand on County Cable Montgomery.
I want to express my deep appreciation to the men and women who have worked so hard throughout the storm and cleanup to get us back on track. Many Department of Transportation, Emergency Management, Health and Human Services, and MC311 employees, as well as police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and many other professionals have worked excruciatingly long shifts with virtually no time off. These are truly the unsung heroes of this historic storm.