The Glass Gazette: April 2021


April 2021

Vaccine Eligibility and Mass Vaccination Sites

Starting this week, all Marylanders over the age of 16 are eligible to receive a vaccine from any provider in the state. In addition, Montgomery County’s new mass vaccination site at Montgomery College’s Germantown campus is up and running! This good news comes after months of advocacy from residents like you and elected officials from across the county. You can register for any of the government operated sites in Montgomery County using the County’s pre-registration site

The Germantown site is not a drive-through site, which makes it accessible for residents arriving by all modes of transportation, including car, Ride On Bus routes 55, 70, 75 and 83 and a free shuttle directly from the Shady Grove Metro station. 

Our Department of Health and Human Services continues to work with local healthcare clinics and community-based organizations to provide an equitable distribution of doses throughout the county.

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Free Buses Through June

After initially announcing that Ride On buses would resume fare collection on April 4, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation reversed course and extended the fare suspension through June 30. This decision follows a letter that I drafted with Councilmember Craig Rice and signed by all of my colleagues, requesting to delay fare collection. This will provide a needed benefit to low-income residents who rely on public transit because they do not have access to a vehicle or are unable to work from home. 

While we continue to be under a State of Emergency due to the pandemic, reintroducing fares would add additional burdens for our residents who currently rely on Ride On for their daily commutes and those who need the bus to reach a vaccination site. 

Access to a vaccine should not be determined by access to a car. Having vaccines sites near transit is about equitable access. You can read this Fox 5 story about what Montgomery County and other jurisdictions are doing to support public transit for those who need it the most.

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Legislation to Expand Support for Medical Research

Montgomery County is home to the world’s leading federal agencies and research companies that are on the frontlines of this pandemic — and if there is anything this pandemic has taught us, it is that public investment can be a powerful force toward protecting public health. Our community is home to the brightest minds in the world and we need to continue investing in their life saving research.

The Council recently passed my legislation, the Oversight and Small Business Investment Act, which expands the eligibility for Montgomery County-based entrepreneurs in the life sciences, biotech and medical sectors to receive county supported research and development grants. Additionally, this legislation strengthens the oversight of taxpayer dollars used to support these public investments. 

At a time when public health has been at the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Oversight and Small Business Investment Act will help support scientific discovery and entrepreneurship.

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Honoring Kojo Nnamdi

For 23 years, Kojo Nnamdi has hosted his namesake show on WAMU, which ended daily production earlier this month. To celebrate Kojo’s achievements in local journalism and civic engagement, I presented him with an official Montgomery County proclamation.

Kojo and I might have started in different places and each of us took different paths, but both of us leaned into journalism and found an incredible love for our community. I studied journalism at American University and went on to work at CNN, and Kojo attended McGill and went on to work at American University’s WAMU. 

The most important skill for a radio host is to be an incredibly good listener — an important skill for elected officials too. We all need to listen to the needs and concerns of our residents.

Thank you, Kojo, for sharing your voice over the airwaves for all these years and for your work to maintain a thriving democracy.

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What Else Can You Do?

People often ask: what else can I do to help? That’s where So What Else comes in. 

I had the pleasure of recently visiting the So What Else team at their Rockville headquarters to help distribute food, diapers and other basic necessities to residents in need. Since the beginning of the pandemic, So What Else has distributed over 7.6 million meals and continues to serve around 110,000 daily meals across all their locations in the D.C. metro area. 

We are fortunate that Montgomery County is home to many wonderful nonprofit organizations working to support our most vulnerable neighbors. 

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Constituent Corner

One of my primary responsibilities is to help residents and businesses with their everyday needs. Last month, a small business owner located in Gaithersburg reached out to my office about the status of their Covid-19 Business Relief Grant program application. The next day, I directed my staff to contact the County Executive’s small business team to follow up on the application. Thankfully, the grant request was approved and the business owner was able to receive funding. 

Knowing the impact that the pandemic has had on our small businesses, I knew we had to act urgently. If you or anyone you know needs assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

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Did You Know?

The Parks Department is celebrating Earth Day 2021 with an entire month’s worth of eco-friendly activities and special events throughout April. From gardening workshops and seedling giveaways to nature hikes, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved with virtual and in-person Earth Month activities for the whole family.

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