Thursday, April 16, 2015

Montgomery County Law Enforcement Agencies Conduct Drug Take-Back Day

The full press release:

On Saturday, May 2, 2015 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., several Montgomery County law enforcement agencies will be conducting a Drug Take-Back day. This is a safe, free and anonymous opportunity to dispose of unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs. This initiative is part of an effort to prevent the increasing problems of prescription drug abuse and theft that continues to occur nationwide. The Rockville City Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting a Drug Take day on May 30, 2015. 

On May 2, there will be nine drop-off locations throughout Montgomery County. These locations will accept prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications only. Liquids, illicit drugs, needles, sharps and syringes cannot be accepted as part of the take-back program. Officers will staff collection boxes in the parking lots of the following facilities or in their lobbies:

Chevy Chase:
MCP 2nd District Police at Village of Friendship Heights Community Center – 
4433 S. Park Ave, Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase Village Police Station - 5906 Connecticut Ave, Chevy Chase  

Gaithersburg:
MCP 1st District Station – 100 Edison Park Rd, Gaithersburg
MCP 6th District Station – 45A West Watkins Mill Rd., Gaithersburg.
Gaithersburg Police Station -14 Fulks Corner Ave., Gaithersburg

Germantown:
MCP 5th District Station – 20000 Aircraft Dr., Germantown

Silver Spring:
MCP 3rd District Station – 1002 Milestone Dr., Silver Spring

Takoma Park:
Takoma Park Police at Takoma Park Community Center Lobby – 
7500 Maple Ave, Takoma Park

Wheaton:
MCP 4th District Station – 2300 Randolph Rd., Wheaton

The Montgomery County law enforcement community is particularly interested in medications containing controlled substances but will accept any medications brought for disposal. All sites will take pills and medication patches of all kinds. If possible, prescription labels should be removed or personal information should be blacked out; however, pill bottles will still be accepted if the labels are attached. No questions will be asked. This is an opportunity to safely empty out a medicine cabinet of drugs that are no longer needed. 

Disposing of them through a drug take-back day is the safest option. If it is safe to dispose of a drug by flushing it down a toilet, the drug label or prescription information will indicate that option is an appropriate means of disposal. Otherwise unused drugs should not be poured down a sink or flushed for disposal.

Drugs should not be thrown in the trash unless specific safety precautions for safe disposal are followed. The County’s Division of Solid Waste and Services offers these suggestions:

  1. Place unwanted or expired medication into a plastic bag (with a seal) or other empty container with a lid to prevent liquid medications from leaking out.
  2. Mix with kitty litter, coffee grounds or sawdust. (Liquid medications can be solidified using kitty litter or sawdust.)
  3. Seal the bag and/or container.
  4. Crush pills or tablets.
  5. Put the container and/or bag containing the medication into your regular household trash.
  6. Remove the label with the patient’s name from the original medicine vial or bottle.
  7. Place the empty plastic vial or bottle into your blue County recycling bin. Empty aerosol inhalers can also be recycled in the County recycling bins.
Unused and/or expired medicines that remain in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

All the returned medications on Drug Take-Back day will be incinerated by the Montgomery County Department of Police according to state and local regulations.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bill to Establish Excise Tax on Electronic Cigarettes

Councilmember Tom Hucker yesterday introduced Bill 15-15 that would establish an excise tax on the distribution of electronic cigarette products. The bill has six co-sponsors, including me.

Under current state tax law, cigarettes are taxed at $2 per pack and other tobacco products are taxed at a rate of 30 percent of the wholesale price. Electronic cigarettes are not currently subject to state tobacco taxes. The proposed tax on the distribution of electronic cigarettes would be 30 percent of the wholesale price--mirroring the state tax on other tobacco products.

If you want to weigh in, you can testify at the public hearing at 7:30 on May 5. Call 240-777-7803 to sign up. You can also send your testimony to county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Equal Pay Day

Today is Equal Pay Day. It symbolizes how far into 2015 women must work to earn what men earned in 2014. Even though the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act passed more than five decades ago, women continue to suffer the consequences of inequitable pay differentials. In fact, year-round, full-time working women earn only 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. In Maryland, we're doing a little bit better at 85 cents for every dollar. 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.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Golden Shovel Award Winners

Tune in at 9:00 on April 21 for the presentation of the 2015 Golden Shovel awards to recognize residents who helped neighbors shovel out after snowfalls during the harsh winter of 2014-15.

I initiated the Golden Shovel awards to honor residents who helped neighbors by shoveling walkways and driveways after a snowfall. The 2014-15 winter season in Montgomery County, according to the County Department of Transportation, had seasonal snow totals ranging from 34.4 inches (in the southern part of the County) to 46.6 inches (in northern areas of the County). In addition, there were 20 days when the high temperature for the day was 30 degrees or below.

Residents submitted 97 nominations for the awards this winter, and I will present 20 Golden Shovel awards at the April 21 ceremonies.

As I read through the nominations, I recognized how grateful people are for the kindness of their neighbors. Truly these nominees are unsung heroes, so it was difficult to select the winners. All those nominated are certainly deserving of our appreciation, and we thank them for their selflessness.

The 2015 awardees (in alphabetical order) are as follows:

Bruce Bishop of Bethesda expanded his snow clearing this year to include sidewalks of six houses on Cheshire Drive and was out as late as 10 p.m. to finish the job.

David and Jim Carter of Rockville (brothers aged 72 and 74) unselfishly shoveled out the homes of two elderly, widowed neighbors including the driveways and a completed clearing the sidewalk down the street.

Carey (Gene) Cheek Sr. of Rockville used his snow blower to clear the sidewalks in front of many houses, the neighborhood common areas and more than a dozen driveways of neighbors.

Jeff Clare of Rockville, whom his neighbors refer to as “The Good Samaritan of Rockville,” shoveled his newly met neighbor’s driveway and unexpectedly provided first aid and called 911 when the neighbor collapsed during one storm.

“The Difference Makers” of Takoma Park, a group of Takoma Park Middle School students and advisors, helped many elderly neighbors clear their sidewalks and steps of snow and ice on school snow days and on weekends.

Mike Glasby of Silver Spring heroically shoveled a long, heavily traveled church sidewalk on University Boulevard, enabling safe passage for students of Eastern Middle School and Blair High School students and for many Ride On commuters.

James Gutmann of Montgomery Village, who is sometimes referred to as “The Snow Angel” of Montgomery Village, received seven neighbor nominations for his tireless shoveling of many walkways, driveways, storm drains and fire hydrants.

Chris Hersman of Chevy Chase, who was called “the epitome of a good neighbor” by one nominator, received 10 Golden Shovel nominations. He diligently worked for hours in the dark snow blowing multiple sidewalks and driveways for neighbors.

Cheryl Leanza of Chevy Chase shoveled several blocks on Grubb Road so children could walk safely to and from school. She also encouraged members of the neighborhood listserv to “be a good neighbor” and clear their sidewalks of ice and snow.

Bill McDowell of Silver Spring, who is retired, continued his annual assistance to his neighbors by regularly clearing snow from many of their driveways and went even further by clearing the snow off of their vehicles.

Michael Marshall of Gaithersburg cleared the car, sidewalk, steps and parking space of his neighbor, who has mobility issues, and also shoveled out additional parking spaces in the community so visitors would have a place to park.

John Mayhew, Philip Stack, Ron Kessler and Michael O’Neil of Olney continued their winter storm day ritual of rising early to clear snow for their entire cul-de-sac, including the roadway, and inspiring a spirit of camaraderie throughout the community.

Shannon Shaffer of Kensington, in spite of a bad back, cleared snow from sidewalks, bus stops and mailboxes and then broke up the tough snow packs that were left by snow plows in front of the driveways of his neighbors.

Mark Springuel of Glen Echo, who is an adult with a developmental disability, routinely shoveled the driveway and sidewalks of his elderly neighbor, providing one of the needed services that allows that neighbor to remain living in his long-time home.

Jeanette Steele of Germantown, who is 72 years old and a native of Milwaukee, said that helping her neighbors clear their sidewalks and driveways keeps her in touch with her Midwestern roots.

Tim Tehan of Bethesda regularly cleared the driveways and walkways for his neighbors, including some very grateful ones (on the aptly-named Snow Point Drive), who were recovering from medical problems.

Kurt Zimmerman of Bethesda cleared the sidewalks in his entire neighborhood so that children could get to their bus stops.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Council Approves Aspen Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment

After months of technical analysis and considerable community input, the Council approved the Aspen Hill Minor Master Plan Amendment which will provide opportunities for re-use of the former Vitro/BAE property in a way that focuses on design and encourages pedestrian use.

The plan creates mixed-use options for redevelopment of a long-empty office building and neighboring properties. Based on neighborhood concerns, we restricted the "big box" potential for the Vitro/BAE site while providing flexibility for future retail and possible residential use.

The area being addressed covers about 14 acres west of Connecticut Avenue near Aspen Hill Road. The vacant Vitro/BAE property encompasses ten of those acres. At the time the Council reviewed the 1994 Aspen Hill Master Plan Amendment, the Vitro/BAE office building was occupied and the Master Plan supported the continued office focus.

We are grateful to the Aspen Hill community for its tireless commitment to its neighborhood's future. We listened long and hard to the concerns of residents in crafting a sustainable solution for this challenging site. The passage of this plan paves the way for much-needed and long-anticipated redevelopment in the area.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

National Conference on Ending Poverty

Here's the full press release:

Montgomery Councilmembers Focus on
Poverty Issues at National Conference
More Than 1,500 Expected in Washington, D.C., for Conference Hosted by A Wider Circle on Saturday, March 28

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 26, 2015—Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal, Council Vice President Nancy Floreen and Councilmembers Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich, Tom Hucker, Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice will join national and regional leaders on Saturday, March 28, at the Washington Convention Center to connect with those living in poverty and non-profit service providers to share innovative approaches to ending poverty. The National Conference on Ending Poverty, which is a day-long regional event hosted by Silver Spring-based non-profit A Wider Circle, is expected to draw more than 1,500 participants.

The conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. the Washington Convention Center, which is located at 801 Mount Vernon Place NW in downtown Washington.

Montgomery Councilmembers will participate in a panel discussion at the conference entitled “How Our Political Leaders Will Propel the Movement to End Poverty,” which is scheduled in two parts (from 11:20 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. and from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m.) The panels will be held in Room 151A.
 The Washington metropolitan region has a high standard of living, in comparison to other areas around the nation. The Montgomery County self-sufficiency standard, which is a measure of the income required to meet basic needs without public or private assistance, is nearly $83,000 annually for a household with two adults and one preschooler. According to Non-profit Montgomery, the number of County residents living below the Federal Poverty Level increased from 4.8 percent in 2006 to 6.7 percent in 2011. The number of children and youth under 18 living in poverty grew from 5.5 to 8.8 percent over the same period.

Montgomery Councilmembers have been working with non-profit organizations and service providers to develop strategies and provide funding to assist the County’s neediest residents.
“As Council President and chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, I know how important it is for residents to access essential safety net services,” said Council President Leventhal. “That’s why the work that A Wider Circle does is so pivotal. It is on the front lines in the battle against poverty, and it is up to all of us to make sure it has the tools to win that fight.”

“Montgomery County ranks toward the top of the list of counties with the highest median incomes, and we take pride in being the economic engine of Maryland,” said Council Vice President Floreen. “Yet we have pockets of poverty that are not easily seen. Families of working poor and people whose circumstances have taken dramatic turns for the worse due to the economic conditions of the past few years make up an increasing portion of our community. We owe it to them to do better. That’s why I’m looking forward to working with our terrific non-profits to expand our capacity to help those who are living in poverty now and to prevent others from slipping into poverty in the future.”

Since poverty indicators are often first observed in the classroom, County officials use Montgomery County Public School’s data as a barometer for measuring community need. Currently, more than 34 percent of public school students qualify for free and reduced price school meals. The income eligibility for this program is less than $44,123 annually for a family of four.

“It is important that we look at all the aspects associated with poverty including education, job training, and housing and figure out how we can join forces through public private partnerships and other collaborations to truly make a difference in our communities,” said Councilmember Rice, who chairs the Council’s Education Committee. “This conference is an excellent opportunity to come together to talk about how to end poverty in Montgomery County.”

“Non-profit organizations like A Wider Circle do incredible work helping those in need, which reinforces the fabric of our society,” said Councilmember Navarro, who is a former member of the Montgomery County Board of Education. “We do work on the Council every day to help those in need—from increasing access to health care to making affordable housing a priority. However, it is a strong and robust economic development strategy that leaves no area of the County behind that truly allows us to invest in our social and educational infrastructure.”

"Ending poverty must be at the top of every agenda,” said Councilmember Berliner. “All tools in the tool box must be used and more added. Proven strategies focused on early childhood education, universal pre-kindergarten, workforce training, adult ESOL classes, affordable housing and food security are all essential in the fight against poverty. Our great non-profits, like A Wider Circle, are leading the way, and we are so very grateful to be its partner in this fight.”

Many working on poverty and income inequality recognize that policy changes are necessary at all levels of government to promote social change.

"The persistence of poverty in America is the result of conscious policy decisions that can be changed, if we have the political will to do so,” said Councilmember Elrich. “How we approach wages, access to health care, education and housing creates or eliminates poverty."

"It is not right and it is not just that so many working families are raising their children in poverty,” said Councilmember Hucker. “In Maryland and in Montgomery County, we do not need to tolerate persistent poverty alongside great wealth. We can do better. From working to raise the minimum wage, expanding access to high quality pre-kindergarten, investing in our infrastructure to create good paying jobs, training the next generation of workers for the jobs of tomorrow and making the workplace more family friendly through paid sick leave and equal pay for women—these are things we can do today to fight poverty in our communities."

“Urgency is the reason for this conference,” said Mark Bergel, executive director of A Wider Circle. “There are so many great programs and leaders doing wonderful work to address the unacceptable conditions that many of our neighbors endure. None of us can do it alone; we must engage together and with urgency.”

For more information about the conference, visit A Wider Circle’s web site http://awidercircle.org/org or contact Samantha Gloss at 301-608-3504.

# # # #

Monday, March 23, 2015

Montgomery County GreenFest This Saturday

Gather up the family to celebrate our local environment and learn more about ways you can play a part in greening your community at the Montgomery County GreenFest this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cultural Arts Center at the Montgomery College Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus and Jesup Blair Local Park. Activities include:

  • Rope-assisted tree climbing for kids with Montgomery Parks staff
  • An electric vehicle car show
  • Environmentally oriented exhibitors throughout the day
  • Documentary films, in partnership with the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, including “Racing to Zero,” “ Growing Legacy,” “ Anacostia River: Making Connections” and student films from Montgomery County Public Schools
  • Featured speaker, Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, discusses the Monarch Butterfly and what we can do in our own backyards to help restore their population
  • Eight panels and workshops throughout the day on topics ranging from sustainable food to green landscaping, in-home water conservation, electric vehicle ownership and raising environmentally conscious kids

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Recommended Budget Transmitted to the Council

The County Executive released his Recommended Operating Budget yesterday, and now it is up to the County Council to consider his proposals and approve a final budget at the end of May. We will hold our public hearings on the budget on: 

  • April 14 at 7 p.m.
  • April 15 at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • April 16 at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
To sign up to speak call 240-777-7803. If you can't make the hearings, you can also let us know your views by e-mailing county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov. Also, check the Council's Web site for regular budget updates.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Montgomery Women's Shining Star Award

I was extremely honored to receive Montgomery Women's 2015 Shining Star award. Montgomery Women is a non-partisan leadership and political action committee started in 2001 by a diverse group of experienced and emerging leaders who recognized the need to provide a forum for women's voices in Montgomery County. I'm proud to have been a founding member of this important organization. I also want to congratulate Planning Board member Natali Fani-Gonzalelez, who received the Rising Star award.

"You've come a long way, baby." Remember that? Since the Virginia Slims slogan debuted in 1968, the number of women serving in state legislatures has more than quintupled. That's the good news. The bad news is that the proportion of women in state legislatures in 2015 is only 24 percent. Maryland is slightly ahead of the average at 31 percent.. So yes, we've come a long way, but we haven't come nearly far enough. That's why I am such a fan of Montgomery Women and its mission to support women's efforts to serve in elected and appointed office as well as other leadership positions.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Report Potholes Online or by Phone

Watch out for those early spring flowers--potholes. The Department of Transportation is hard at work filling them right now, and remember, you can report potholes online or by calling 311.

DOT has filled more than 2,000 potholes since January 1, and most of them were filled within 48 hours of when they were reported. The Division of Highway Services has four pothole trucks and crews that fill potholes nearly every day of the year. The crews respond to reports of potholes and, if on their way they see others that need to be filled, they take care of them as well. Since spring is a peak time for pothole formation, DHS has added 20 additional trucks and crews this week to fill potholes. Sometimes potholes result from significant structural problems in the roads. In these cases, major repairs to the roads will need to be made, and these fixes require more than 48 hours to accomplish.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Snow Angels in Takoma Park

Check out WTOP's heartwarming story about Snow Angels in Takoma Park. Remember, if you have great neighbors like Anna and Prayag, nominate them for a Golden Shovel.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Winter Weather Information

Preparing for the Storm

Emergency preparations should include having enough food, water, medication (if needed) and batteries to last two to three days. Make sure portable radios, smoke detectors and flashlights are working properly. 

Keep a fresh supply of extra batteries on hand, along with a basic first aid kit and a non-electric can opener.

Check with neighbors who may require special assistance to see if they need help in stocking up on supplies or medications, and call them during the storm.

Park vehicles in driveways or off the street, if possible. When parking on-street, pull close to the curb on the even numbered side of the street to clear the way for snowplows.

Be sure your vehicle is ready to drive after the storm by filling the gas tank; checking tires to make sure they have an adequate tread and are fully inflated; checking oil, antifreeze and windshield washer fluid levels; and ensuring windshield wipers, lights, flashing hazard lights, exhaust system, heater, brakes and defroster are all working properly. Keep a windshield scraper and small broom in the car for ice and snow removal, and a small sack of sand or kitty litter to improve wheel traction.

If driving during the storm is unavoidable, put together a separate disaster supply kit for the trunk of the car that includes:
  • Flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Flares.
  • Blankets or sleeping bags.
  • Dry clothing, mittens, socks, and a wool cap.
  • Newspapers for insulation.
  • Plastic bags.
  • Canned fruit, nuts, or high energy “munchies.”
  • Bottles of water.
  • A small shovel, a pocket knife, and small tools --pliers, a wrench and screwdriver.
  • Jumper cables.
  • First aid kit and necessary medications.
  • Brightly colored cloth to tie to the antenna.
During the Storm

During the storm, residents are urged to travel only if absolutely necessary, and to stay indoors.

Residents concerned about the safety and well-being of children, elderly individuals or adults with disabilities should call the County’s Crisis Center at 240-777-4000.

If traveling is hazardous, residents should be prepared to shelter in place.

In the event of a power outage, avoid using candles or outdoor grills indoors, to prevent the risk of a fire.

For downed trees on public property, residents should call 3-1-1 (or 240-777-0311 from a cell phone).  To report trees that have fallen on utility lines, contact local utility companies. Contact information is available on the County’s website at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov. “Hot” wires or sparking wires, especially those across roadways, may be reported by calling 9-1-1. 

After the Storm

In the event of power outages, treat intersections with non-working traffic signals as four-way stops.  If your home is without power, contact your utility company:  PEPCO, 877-737-2662; BG&E, 877-778-2222; or FirstEnergy/Potomac Edison, 1-800-255-3443.

Exercise caution when shoveling snow. Try to shovel snow into the yard rather than into the street. Cold weather puts an extra strain on the body. Individuals with heart disease or high blood pressure should follow their doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold. Avoid overexertion. Heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow are a leading cause of deaths during winter.

When going outdoors, dress warmly and stay dry. Adults and children should wear a hat, scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth; sleeves that are snug at the wrists, mittens (they are warmer than gloves), a water-resistant coat and boots, and several layers of loose-fitting clothes.

Serious health problems such as hypothermia and frostbite can be caused by prolonged exposure to the cold. Watch for loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes and the tip of the nose. Signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. In both cases, residents should get medical attention immediately if symptoms are present.

Do not attempt to drive if you are not comfortable driving on icy or snowy roads. When preparing to drive, be sure to thoroughly clear the snow from the entire car – including roofs, windshields trunks and hoods – to ensure visibility and prevent snow from blowing onto surrounding cars. When driving, do not speed and be sure to leave plenty of space between your car and the one in front of you. Avoid pulling out in front of other vehicles and do not slow down before going up a hill.

For timely severe weather and emergency notifications, go to https://alert.montgomerycountymd.gov and sign up for Alert Montgomery. Warnings and emergency updates will be sent directly to your cell phone and/or email address. The service is free, but text charges may apply, so check with your cell phone carrier before selecting text alerts. Information is also available on the County’s website at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/snow.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Council Passes Bill to Regulate Electronic Cigarettes

The Council today unanimously approved my bill to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes in public places where traditional tobacco smoking is prohibited. The bill also will restrict the sale of certain liquid nicotine or liquid nicotine containers in retail outlets unless the nicotine is in a container considered child resistant packaging.

Perhaps swayed by the belief that electronic cigarettes are safe, or emboldened by the fact that e-cigs have little odor that parents could detect, teens who have never tried traditional cigarettes are using e-cigs, putting themselves at risk for nicotine addiction, nicotine poisoning or exposure to harmful chemicals. I am not willing to gamble with the health of our current generation of young people by waiting for federal regulations. The Council did the right thing by putting these protections in place.

At a July 21 worksession on e-cigarettes, the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee received briefings from the National Institutes of Health and the Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy. The briefings included a discussion of the current medical understanding of the health risks and public policy concerns with electronic cigarette usage. After the briefings, committee members discussed the use of electronic cigarettes by minors and directed staff to provide options to restricting youth access to electronic smoking devices.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not currently regulate e-cigarettes. However, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gives the FDA the authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products. The FDA has proposed a “deeming regulation” that would subject electronic cigarettes to FDA’s regulatory authority. It is unclear when (or whether) the FDA will issue a final rule and what the substance of that final rule will look like.

While at least 30 states have comprehensive clean indoor air laws restricting the use of lighted tobacco products in indoor public places such as bars, restaurants and office buildings, only a few have extended these provisions to include the use of electronic cigarettes. Among those states, New Jersey, North Dakota and Utah have specifically amended their clean indoor air laws to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes in public places and workplaces.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Nominate Your Neighbor for a Golden Shovel Award

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 31, and awards will be presented in a Council session in April. Get the nomination form.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Local Civil Rights Leaders in Black History Month Tribute

Six long-time residents of Montgomery County, each of whom played a key role in civil rights changes that impacted the County, told their personal stories as they were honored by the Council as part of Tuesday's Black History Month commemoration event. See the terrific video of these residents talking about Montgomery County history as they lived it.