Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Intern's walkout experience

Hello readers of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Service Center's blog, my name is Daniel Byrne and I’m a Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School student interning for the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Service Center. I was tasked by the director to write about my experience attending the Montgomery County students walkout. It was a split decision to attend the Montgomery County Student Walkout on February 21st. It may have landed me with a few unexcused absences for my classes that took place after 9:30 am, but it for sure was entirely worth the penalty.

The student rally was in response to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland Florida. The Rally's main purposes were to show support to the students and families that were affected in the shooting; create discussion within the county, state, and federal government about the widespread disapproval of the handling of gun control and gun laws; and to show currently there are a lot of students who do not feel safe within their own schools. And with those reasons, I took part in the walkout and traveled with my fellow students down to Capitol Hill.

The trip down to Union Station was full of excitement, for some students it was the first time participating in a political rally. Students shuffled about with signs and poster boards that they had previously been working on in the two periods (or even before that) prior to when the walkout was preliminary staged. The trains then became crowded with either late rush hour commuters or new politically minded high school students who are aiming to make a difference. Then came the wait at the outside entrance to Union Station for the masses of students from other high schools that were also making the trek to Capitol Hill.

As soon as most if not all of the 1,300 Montgomery County students arrived at Union Station, we started the march from Union Station to the north-east lawn of the United States Capitol building. Throughout the march a variety of different news casters and anchors filmed the large crowd of high school students, and even pulling some of them out of the crowd so they could answer questions. But the march continued until we got to the Capitol and were directed by security and organizers where to stand.

At the Capitol, students shouted and chanted towards the building that was less than a hundred yards away. The crowd was so large that on one side they would be chanting one thing and on the other side an entirely different chant was being shouted. The chanting subsided when Maryland representative Jamie Raskin came forward to address the the different sections of the crowd with the over willing message that he was so very proud of us Maryland young professionals standing up for what we believe in, and that some day we will be able to make the necessary changes to America a better and safer place for all.

After that the march went on the move again, this time to the White House. Cheers and honks followed the procession of students down the National Mall. As we got to the White House, we piled against the outer barriers and waited for the rest of the masses to join us. There we finished up with a moment of silence for the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Local Forum on County Budget

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett will host a public forum on the County Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Budget on Tuesday, February 6th at the Bethesda Chevy-Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda. The forum will begin at 7pm and run to 8:30pm.

Local Residents are welcome to attend and provide input and constructive feedback on the Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Budget.

The 2019 Budget Forum's Agenda is as Follows:
  1. Welcome & Introduction from Ken Hartman, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center Director
  2. Welcome Remarks from Ann Marie Mehlert, Chair, Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board
  3. Presentation by the Office of Management and Budget on the Process and Current Fiscal Climate: Chris Mullin, Lead Fiscal and Policy Analyst, Office of Management and Budget
  4. Remarks from County Executive Isiah Leggett
  5. Community Questions and Comments for the County Executive
  6. Closing Remarks from County Executive Isiah Leggett 
The County Executive will announce his recommended Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Budget on March 15th. The County Council approves the operating budget at the end of May.

The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center is conveniently located one block from the Bethesda Metro Station And atop a 900-space public parking garage. The parking rate is $1.25/hour. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Business Improvement District on the Pike?

A report by the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee has completed the task from the county Resolution 17-577 on the timing and feasibility of creating an Urban Services District in the Pike District (formerly White Flint) Plan Area. The report findings state:
  1. A Business Improvement District (BID) is preferred over an Urban District, Urban District Corporation, or a voluntary model.  
  2. Branding and place-making are the two highest priority service areas.  
  3. The preferred boundary for the district would be based on the boundary of the White Flint Sector Plan.
  4. A Montgomery County law is needed to implement the MD BID law. It is our understanding the MD BID law is not sufficient on its own to implement a BID in Montgomery County.
One of the more immediate next steps that the advisory committee will take in the creation of the Pike District BID is helping stakeholders organize and engaging the property owners in developing a 3 year business plan to identify services that are going to be provided and their funding levels.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

MD High School Science Bowl this Saturday in Rockville

The Maryland High School Science Bowl is taking place this Saturday, January 13th, at the Rockville Montgomery College campus. The Maryland High School Science Bowl sees High Schools from across Maryland coming together to compete in a scientific battle of the wits! The winner of the Maryland Science Bowl will move on to the National Science Bowl that will take place in Washington D.C., and will face off against High School teams from across the United States of America.

The past two years has seen the local Montgomery Blair High School team win the Maryland Science Bowl twice and then win the 2016 National Science Bowl! So go out and support your local Science Bowl team this Saturday at the Rockville Montgomery College campus at 51 Mannakee St, Rockville Md!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

New Community Advisory Board Members!

We would like to welcome our newest Members who joined the 19-member Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board in 2017:

Joshua Berman (Business Representative) grew up in Gaithersburg and Potomac and is a proud resident of Montgomery County. He currently is a local business owner and civil litigation attorney.

Kay Bowman (Non-Profit Representative) has been a resident of Montgomery County for the past 40 years. She has recently retired from Montgomery County Public Libraries where she worked for 30 years as a manager of many Montgomery County Public Libraries.

Tim Dugan (Business Representative) has been a land use and real estate attorney of over 30 years. He was previously a member of the Maryland State Highway Administration's Land Use Expert Panel for the Inter-county Connector and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission's Transportation Policy Task Force.

Eric Grosse (Residential Representative) has been a educator and administrator at five different Montgomery County schools. He has explored multiple volunteer opportunities with various  community organizations.

Linda Kohn (Residential Representative) recently retired from the Government Accountability Office after a 40 year career with health care services and issues. She is a happy resident of Bethesda.

Katya Marin (Residential Representative) is active in the community, volunteering as PTA Treasurer and PTA Cluster Rep, Vice President of the East Bethesda Citizen’s Association, Treasurer of the Coalition of Bethesda Area Residents, and Girls on the Run coach and site liaison.

Katharine Manning (Residential Representative) is an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, where she drafts policy and trains prosecutors on crime victims' rights. She also serves as the PTA President for Chevy Chase Elementary school.

Anirudh 'Rudi' Sarna (Residential Representative) is a life long resident of Montgomery County.  He has gained a passion for public service while working at the FDIC and most recently as a Presidential Management Fellow at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Danielle Socher (Residential Representative) is a life long resident of Montgomery County. She has held employment at many government appointed offices.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Matching mini grants now available for neighborhood events!

Sometimes all that is keeping a wonderful neighborhood event from materializing is a relatively small amount of resources... Well, now there is a local source for that!
The Neighborhood Events Matching Fund was established by Montgomery County to encourage capacity building, networking and to stimulate the local economy.

Maximum grant amount is $1,000. Funds must be matched and the event must take place this Fiscal Year - by June 30, 2018. 
Applying is easy. Download the PDF application form, complete it, and submit it to your Regional Services Area Director.There is no deadline for application, but funding is limited. So, regardless whether your event is next month or months away apply now!

See application for more details and instructions.

Monday, October 9, 2017

How to Help Those Affected by Natural Disasters


The best way to to support the people who have been damaged is donate money to various different and well respected, trusted, and reputable relief organizations. Organizations will put this money to use by purchasing materials that will directly help those who need assistance after a natural Disaster.

Do Not send unsolicited goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, medicine, or perishable foodstuffs. Even if these items are sent with good intentions they tend to have negative effects by having the helping agencies having to redirect their staff from helping those in need, to sorting, packaging, transporting, housing, and distributing items that may not be needed by those who are affected by natural disasters.


The best way to volunteer to directly help the areas that are affected by natural disasters is to sign up with well respected, trusted, and reputable volunteer organizations that are working in the affected areas. Organizations will greatly appreciate the addition help that volunteers can provide to damaged areas.

Do Not self deploy yourself into damaged areas. Working alone in natural disaster areas can be dangerous and cause additional burdens to first responders who are working in the area. It is a safety risk to volunteer without the supervision or input of a highly skilled disaster organization.

For more information on how to help those who have been affected by natural disasters, visit:,,
Remember to always look for local charity events for natural disaster movements.