Friday, June 22, 2012

Adapting to Change

"Shaping Our Future: Adapting to Change"

This series of briefings held by the Montgomery County Council in 2012 addresses some of the most significant issues confronting the County and its future. Council President Roger Berliner and Vice President Nancy Navarro announced the creation of the unique “Shaping the Future: Adapting to Change” series in January. The briefings were held as part of the Council’s regular general sessions at the Council Office Building in Rockville.

Tuesday, April 10, 10:30 a.m. - Sixth in the Series
Transit 2.0 - Congestion
The number one quality of life issue in Montgomery County and it significantly impacts our competitiveness. Discussion will focus on the Purple Line, Corridor Cities Transitway and a County-wide Rapid Transit Vehicle Network.

January 31, 2012 - First in the Series
County Demographic Trends and Impact on Services
In what ways does the County need to alter our service delivery model to meet the needs of our residents?

  • Montgomery County to Hold First "Shaping our Future Briefing (press release)
  • January 31 Council Session, Agenda item 1 - SHAPING OUR FUTURE: ADAPTING TO CHANGE: "Briefing on County demographic trends and impact on services" (video of Council session | Analyst packet)
  • Presentation of Rollin Stanley, Planning Director, Montgomery County Park and Planning (pdf | 2MB)
  • Presentation of Dr. Joshua Starr, Superintendent, Montgomery County Public Schools (pdf | 186kb)
  • Presentation of Dr. DeRionne Pollard, President, Montgomery College (pdf | 1.32MB)
March 13, 2012 - Second in the Series
How can we transform Montgomery County into a “Community of a Lifetime?”
  • Montgomery County Council to Host 2 'Shaping Our Future: Adapting to Change' Briefings This Week On Tuesday, March 13 (press release)
  • March 13 Council Session, Agenda item 11 - SHAPING OUR FUTURE: ADAPTING TO CHANGE: "Briefing on our Growing Population of Seniors" (video of Council session | Analyst packet)
March 14, 2012 - Third in the Series
Montgomery and the New Economy
Economic Growth—Less federal government spending will require the County to build on its core economic strengths and support entrepreneurial efforts.
  • Montgomery Council to Host 'Shaping Our Future: Adapting to Change' Briefing on ‘Montgomery and the New Economy’ on Wednesday, March 14 (press release)
  • March 14 Council Session, Agenda item 1 - SHAPING OUR FUTURE: ADAPTING TO CHANGE: "Briefing on the New Economy" (video of Council session | Analyst packet)
March 20, 2012 - Fourth in the Series
Workforce Development in the Changing Economy
40 percent of the workforce of the future will require technical skills and two years of post secondary education.
  • Montgomery Council to Host 'Shaping Our Future: Adapting to Change' Briefing on Trends in Workforce Development On Tuesday, March 20 (press release)
  • March 20 Council Session, Agenda item 14 - SHAPING OUR FUTURE: ADAPTING TO CHANGE: "Briefing on Training the Workforce of the Future" (video of Council session | (Analyst packet)
  • Shaping Our Future - Workforce Development: The Montgomery County Council continues its Shaping Our Future series with a briefing on workforce development and strategies for training the workforce of the future. (CCM video summary)
March 27, 2012 - Fifth in the Series
Preserving and Creating Affordable Housing
While the County's MPDU program is praised nationwide, the County, like many other jurisdictions, does not have enough affordable housing options.
  • Montgomery Council to Host 'Shaping Our Future: Adapting to Change' Briefing on Preserving / Creating Affordable Housing On Tuesday, March 27 (press release)
  • Shaping Our Future Affordable Housing (CCM video summary)
  • March 27 Council Session, Agenda item 8 - SHAPING OUR FUTURE: ADAPTING TO CHANGE: "Briefing on Preserving and Creating Affordable Housing" (video of Council session | Analyst packet)
  • Stable Housing Presentation by the National Historic Trust: "Support Full Funding for Section 8: The value of Section 8 to the people, the community, and private investors" (view the presentation)
  • Montgomery County Affordable Housing in a New Era: Making the Connections, Michael Bodaken(pdf | 452kb)

Lot 31 Project Update

Lot 31 project construction continues onsite, along the Capital Crescent trail and at the corner of Woodmont/Bethesda Avenue (the NW/SW corner).  Work in the public right-of-way and along the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) includes:

  • WSSC storm water work - A new storm line is being installed from the southwest corner of Lot 31 site to approximately 200’ south along the eastern edge of the trail.  The work is 85% complete.  Work of seeding and re-stabilization of the eastern portion of the trail where disturbed is projected to occur the week of June 25th-29th.
  • WSSC water line work - A water line is being replaced from the southwest corner of Lot 31 going north under the Capital Crescent Trail, connecting to existing services in Bethesda Avenue.  This work will be ongoing to approximately July 18th.  The traffic lanes along Bethesda Avenue as well as immediately within the Bethesda Avenue crosswalk are impacted and the Traffic Control plan is being followed for all the work.  Flag personnel are in place directing traffic at this location.  We ask that pedestrians and trail users please use caution in this area and follow the detour signs.  In addition, there will be three (3) water outages with this work.  The outages will be scheduled for minimal disruption to businesses and residents within the area and WSSC will provide the appropriate notification.
  • Traffic Signal Modifications - The underground duct bank and conduit for traffic signalization modifications at the intersection of Bethesda Avenue and Woodmont Avenue are being installed.  The new traffic controller should be installed by July 15th.  New signals pole bases have been installed at the various corners of the streets.  New poles will also be installed in July.  New signals will be in place prior to the closing of Woodmont Avenue.
  • Overhead Protection of CCT - Following the WSSC waterline work, the contractor will begin construction of the overhead protection along the original CCT.  Once that is completed the original trail will be re-opened.  This work is anticipated between July 18th and August 1st.
In addition to the work noted above on site work this week included removal of trees, both on site and in adjacent neighbor yards as well as installation of fencing for same areas.  Sheeting/shoring pile deliveries began this week in anticipation of pile drilling operations commencing the week of June 25th.

For information about parking during construction, see our earlier blog post.

Options for parking, getting around during Lot 31 construction

While Lot 31 is under construction, there are several options for parking and getting where you need to go in downtown Bethesda. If you are heading to Bethesda Avenue, try county garage 11, at the corner of Woodmont Avenue and Old Georgetown Road. Garage 11 offers Pay on Foot, which uses centralized pay stations. Another option is garage 49, located under the B-CC Regional Services Center on Woodmont Avenue, just south of Old Georgetown Road. Garage 49 has more than 900 parking spaces. Finally, parking lot 24, behind Farm Women's Market, has 217 metered spaces.

There are also several private garages along Bethesda Avenue and Elm Street that offer public parking for a fee.  The private garage with direct access to Bethesda Lane is located on 4950 Elm Street Bethesda MD 20814, near the corner of Elm Street and Arlington Road next to Lebanese Taverna. Other convenient paid parking lots operated by Colonial Parking, Inc. are located on Bethesda Avenue behind Rio Grande CafĂ© and Elm Street next to Jaleo.

A word of caution.  Patrons of downtown Bethesda are strongly urged to avoid parking in free private surface parking lots for stores or shopping centers and then leaving the property to shop or dine elsewhere, due to towing.

As a convenience to shoppers and diners, the county and Federal Reality have collaborated on a new valet drop-off area at the corner of Woodmont Avenue and Bethesda Avenue. The valet service, which is available for a fee, is open to all.

Finally, the free Bethesda Circulator is still the best way to get around. It connects shops and dining to nearly all of the parking areas in Bethesda. During the construction period, the Circulator is providing additional bus service. An additional Circulator bus is now running during rush hour (7-10 am, 4-7 pm), and running later hours -- until midnight Monday through Thursday, until 2 am on Friday and Saturday. The buses run approximately every 10 minutes. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Arrests made in recent theft from auto cases

Dear Residents:

As many of you are aware, the Bethesda District has experienced a rash of theft from autos and theft of autos recently. During the past few weeks, over 45 vehicles were reported as being entered overnight. Additionally, at least two cars were stolen because the homeowners left the keys in the cars. To date, there has been no evidence to suggest that force was used to enter any car. Similar to our favorite restaurant where we go back time and time again because we like the food and/or the service, these thieves return to our neighborhoods because they like how easy it is to get into vehicles and the ready availability of items to steal. Many thanks to those of you who do practice good personal crime prevention techniques, and I implore you to talk to your neighbors to make sure everyone is doing the same.

As is always the case, it is my job as commander to deploy my resources to those areas being most affected by crime. After reviewing reports and speaking to many of my community leaders, marked and covert resources were deployed to the neighborhoods experiencing the most problems, and very early this morning, a suspicious car was spotted by one of our plain-clothes detectives in a neighborhood off of Massachusetts Ave. Detectives began a surveillance of this car and its occupants and developed probable cause to make a stop and arrest.

Two 17 year old juvenile males from Silver Spring were arrested. Additionally, a 20 year old female from Bladensburg and a 19 year old male from Hyattsville were also arrested. During this incident, evidence was recovered linking this group to recent thefts, as well as to the recovery of two of the stolen cars.

While I am confident that this group was responsible for most of the recent thefts, there will be more groups to follow and we may not be so lucky next time in making such a prompt arrest. I need everyone to step up to the plate and follow these very simple rules:

(1) Remove all valuables and anything that looks to be of value from your car or remove them from plain sight. These thieves are looking into your cars first to see if there is anything of value, and then trying the doors. Force is not usually used because it makes noise and draws attention to their activity.

(2) Lock you doors this means car doors, house doors, garage doors and also your windows. Do not make it easy for these criminals to ply their trade.

(3) Never, ever, ever leave your car keys in your car. It may be convenient, but these thieves will take your car if you provide the means and most of the time you will never see it again, at least in the same condition.

(4) Always call the police if you see or hear anything suspicious late at night. If its not a normal occurrence for your neighborhood, let us know right away. Oftentimes, it is your call that leads to the arrest.

As always, your police officers are here to serve you, but we need to work together to keep our neighborhoods safe. Help us help you by practicing good crime prevention. Please call if you have any questions.

Captain David Falcinelli, Commander, 2nd District (Bethesda, North Bethesda, Kensington)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pool safety tips can help prevent tragedy

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service has responded to a large number of near drownings throughout Montgomery County so far this year. These have occurred at neighborhood and community pools, County pools, pools located at private clubs, and backyard pools. The common thread between these incidents is that they involved younger children who were unwatched for only a few moments.

The primary take-home message is that the tragedy of a drowning can happen in an instant and can best be prevented by teaching children to respect water, teaching children how to swim, and by adults being extremely vigilant when it comes to monitoring children when they are in or around water.

Anyone who has a pool or who goes to a pool should review the following information:

Splash into Summer SAFELY!

Swimming Swimming Swimming

Never leave children unattended around any body of water (bathtubs, pools, ornamental backyard ponds, etc.).

Small children don't think of water as a danger and, by nature, are very curious. Being left alone in or around water without supervision can be fatal. Do not leave water or any other solutions unattended in buckets or other containers - a child can drown in as little as two inches of water.

Learn to swim. But remember - even good swimmers can drown.

Swimming lessons are no substitute for supervision of children and never swim alone.

Learn CPR.

Valuable lifesaving seconds are lost by having to wait for Emergency Medical Services to respond and administer CPR. Four to six minutes without oxygen can cause irreversible brain damage or death.

Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts.

Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.

Watch out for the "dangerous too's"

...too tired

...too cold

...too far from safety

...too much sun

...too much strenuous activity

Always have a phone

Keep a phone (cell or cordless) by the pool or nearby when engaged in recreational water activities so that you can call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Know where your children are at all times.

Never leave a child unattended in the water or pool area. Don't be distracted by phone calls, chores or conversations. If you leave the pool area, take the child with you.

Don't rely on substitutes.

The use of floatation devices and inflatable toys cannot replace parental supervision. Such devices could suddenly shift position, lose air, or slip out from underneath, leaving the child in a dangerous situation.

Thank you for your help in working to keep our community safe!

Battalion Chief Jim Resnick, Battalion 2 - serving the communities of Bethesda, Cabin John, Chevy Chase, Glen Echo, and Potomac

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue

Monday, June 11, 2012

Help prevent theft from auto

Over the last several months, crime has remained well below trend lines in most categories. Over the last several weeks, however, the 2nd District (Bethesda-Chevy Chase, North Bethesda, Kensington) has begun to see a rise in thefts from autos. Just last night, several cars were entered and an alert homeowner heard the suspects and scared them away. Unfortunately, these same suspects were able to locate two cars nearby with the keys left inside and stole both cars to make their escape. Approximately 80% of cars where property is stolen are unlocked!!

I recently met with my Citizens’ Advisory Board. As a group, we are extremely grateful that some residents are street smart and do lock their cars and remove their valuables. Unfortunately, we are also extremely frustrated that there remain many that continue to invite criminals to our police district by making theft so easy for them.

Click on the link below to see an attempted theft from auto captured by a home security camera in the 4th district:

The video shows the typical theft from auto thief. He looks inside to see if there is anything of value, tries the door and moves on if it is locked.

You need to help us and your neighbors by practicing good crime prevention. Lock your car doors, remove valuables, leave nothing inside that looks inviting and report any suspicious activity immediately.

These criminals do talk and they tell their friends where the “easy” neighborhoods are located. Our crime then begins to multiply. We will aggressively patrol these areas and hopefully deter some of these criminals from coming back, but you each need to do your part also.

Help us keep crime down to a minimum. With your assistance, there will be no insurance paperwork, officers can be more useful rather than spending time taking reports for crimes that are easily prevented, and in the case last night – you won’t be walking or riding the bus to work in the morning since the bad guys used your keys to steal your cars.

Enjoy your summer – let’s start it off being street smart!!


Captain David Falcinelli, Commander, Montgomery County Police, 2nd District


Sunday, June 10, 2012

June Advisory Board topics

A number of critical and timely issues are on the agenda of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board this month.

On Monday, June 11 (7pm) the Quality of Life/Public Safety Committee will hear from the Parks Department on the PROS plan - the County's blueprint for park, ballfields, and community recreation. The Committee will also receive a public safety briefing from Fire Battalion Chief Jim Resnick.

That same evening at 8pm, the Land Use/Transportation Committee will receive a presentation from the Planning Department on development projects in Bethesda, North Bethesda, and White Flint. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about what's breaking ground and when.

The full Advisory Board is meets next on June 18, 7pm. On the agenda is a report from Councilmember Hans Riemer; a presentation and discussion on proposed accessory apartments legislation; and a discussion of utilities vegetation management legislation.

Advisory Board meetings are open to the public and are a good way to keep informed. Guests are welcome to participate in discussions. The June meetings will take place at the B-CC Regional Services center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane in Bethesda. We hope to see you at an upcoming meeting!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Take me out to the ball game

The season is starting for our two local college-level baseball teams in the Cal Ripkin League -- The Rockville Express and Bethesda's Big Train.

Rockville Express's home opener, vs. the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts, is Wednesday, June 6, 7 pm, at Knights Field (at Montgomery College, 51 Mannakee Street, Rockville). Admission to home games is $3; kids under 12 are free.

Bethesda Big Train's home opener, vs. the Rockville Express, is Saturday, June 8, at Shirley Povich Field (10600 Westlake Drive, Bethesda). Tickets are $9 for adults ($5 seniors), $5 for kids 6-12 and $7 for students and military with ID.