Nancy Floreen's Montgomery in Focus, October 2016

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Town Hall Meeting for Students

High school student Seth Ross and Nancy Floreen in the Council Hearing Room

This year we will hold the always-popular Town Hall Meeting for Students on Wednesday, October 5, at the Council Office Building in Rockville. The meeting will be held in the Council’s Third Floor Hearing Room beginning at 7:30 p.m. A pre-meeting reception will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the building’s second-floor cafeteria.

The October meeting is open to high school, middle school and local college students. The meeting will allow the participants to let Councilmembers know how they feel about specific issues and also will provide the opportunity to ask questions of us in an organized, but informal, setting. My colleagues and I especially enjoy hearing the unique perspectives of our young people.

The event will be broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery (CCM—cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and rebroadcast at various times in the weeks following the meeting. Susan Kenedy, a producer for the County station, will moderate the meeting.

Update on Apartment Fire

Unidentified children looking at charred remains of an apartment building

Tune in to County Cable Montgomery (agenda item 7) to see  last week's briefing on issues relating to the August 10 explosion and fire at the Flower Branch apartment complex on Arliss Street in Silver Spring where seven people were killed in the blast and ensuing fire and 39 others were injured.

The Council got updates from Earl Stoddard, the director of the County’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security; County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein, County Police Chief Thomas Manger; Clarence Snuggs, the County’s director of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs; Uma Ahluwalia, the County’s director of the Department of Health and Human Services; and Paul Sledzik, the National Transportation Safety Board's director of the Office of Safety Recommendations and Communications.
Several federal agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the NTSB, investigated the explosion. ATF concluded its field work on August 19, and determined that a natural gas leak in a basement meter room caused the explosion and fire. NTSB then took over the investigation. It expects to issue a preliminary report as early as next week and a full report in nine to 12 months.

Thanks to the generosity of Montgomery County residents,  the Long Branch Fire Fund, which was established to support the families impacted by the disaster, has raised more than $750,000.

Three Ways to Vote

early voting buttons

Voting is easy in Montgomery County with three ways to cast your ballot. For more information, visit the Board of Elections at Register to vote or change your information by October 18.

Vote by Mail
Any voter can vote by mail. Download the absentee ballot request form and send it to the Board of Elections by November 1 if you want your ballot mailed to you or by November 4 if you want it delivered electronically.

Vote Early
Early voting is available October 27-November 3, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. at any of these ten early voting sites: 

  • The Activity Center at Bohrer Park, 506 S. Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg
  • Damascus Community Recreation Center, 25520 Oak Drive, Damascus
    Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville
  • Germantown Community Recreation Center, 18905 Kingsview Road, Germantown
  • Jane E. Lawton Community Recreation Center, 4301 Willow Lane, Chevy Chase
  • Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, 14906 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville
  • Mid-County Community Recreation Center, 2004 Queensguard Road, Silver Spring
  • Potomac Community Recreation Center, 11315 Falls Road, Potomac
  • Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place, Silver Spring
  • Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad, 2401 Arcola Avenue, Silver Spring

Vote on Election Day
Show up at your local precinct on November 8.

Bethesda and Lyttonsville Plans

The Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee will be working through the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan and the Bethesda Downtown Plan this fall and winter. All of the public hearings, committee meetings and full Council meetings will be televised live and on demand, so tune in to County Cable Montgomery if you want to follow along.

The PHED Committee will begin its work on the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan on November 7 at 2:00. Since the public hearings are now closed, I encourage you to send your comments in writing to, and will still consider them. Check the Council's Web site two days before scheduled committee meetings to get the background packet.

The Council will hold three public hearings on the Bethesda Downtown Plan on October 18, 19 and 20. To sign up to speak, call 240-777-7803. If you can't testify in person, you can send your comments to We want your input, and we give equal weight to written and oral testimony. The PHED committee will begin its work on the Plan in late November or early December. You can get committee agendas on the Council's Web site.

Fast Fact

Montgomery County's Sick and Safe Leave Law takes effect October 1. Under the new law, an employer must provide each employee with sick leave for a variety of reasons, including personal illness, preventative care, a family member's illness, a public health emergency or domestic violence.

Employers with fewer than five employees must provide up to 32 hours of earned paid sick and safe leave and 24 hours of unpaid earned sick and safe leave in a calendar year. An employer with five or more employees must provide up to 56 hours of paid sick and safe leave in a calendar year. In either case, employers are not required to allow an employee to use more than 80 hours of earned sick and safe leave in a calendar year.

See the frequently asked questions or get the informational poster for more information.

Green Tip of the Month

Experience farm life from the 1850s to the present at the 25th annual Harvest Festival on October 1, 11:00-4:00. People of all ages will enjoy hands-on activities, games and farming demonstrations. Montgomery Parks' Agricultural History Farm Park is situated on 455 acres of land in Montgomery County's Agricultural Reserve, and serves as a historic farm site as well as a modern farming activity center. Enjoy some down-home fun on the farm with old-time crafts, activities, music and food. Admission is $15 per car.

Let's Talk

Is your community organization hosting a public meeting? Please let me know how I can help. I am happy to assist residents in understanding pending bills or in finding ways to get involved in the political process. Even more important, I want to hear about what matters to you. Send your meeting notices to or call 240-777-7959 if you would like me to address a particular topic with your group.

October 2016

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