The Glass Gazette: September 2021


September 2021

MCPS Covid Testing

The last 18 months have been extremely hard on students as they have had to stay home and miss out on valuable learning in the classroom and interactions with their friends. This situation has also been difficult for families and educators alike. Since the start of school, I have been closely monitoring MCPS’ Covid-19 guidelines intended to keep everyone safe. In the two weeks since, I have heard from many parents expressing concern and confusion about the guidelines and the effect they may have on continuing in-person instruction.

In light of the widespread concerns and lack of information about the implementation of these policy changes, the County Council on Tuesday held a briefing to learn more about the details and rationale behind the new policies.

My Q&A with MCPS leaders focused on the importance of in-person learning and keeping our students, teachers and families safe. You can watch that discussion here and read this Bethesda Beat article to learn more about MCPS’ new protocols.


Smart Energy Bus Depot

Montgomery County has begun construction of a first-of-its-kind electric bus depot. The infrastructure project will include charging stations for electric buses and retrofit open parking lots to have overtop solar panels that will reduce the heat-island effect and capture more of the sun’s energy. The project will also transition at least 44 buses from diesel to electric power, which are expected to reduce their carbon emissions by 62 percent and have a lifetime greenhouse gas benefit of over 155,000 tons –– all part of making Montgomery County greener and bringing the county closer to the plan of net-zero emissions by the year 2035. Construction on the project is scheduled to be finished in the late spring of 2022 with the new buses on the road by the following year.

You can learn more about the electric bus depot here.


Rally to Support Afghan Refugees

The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is a tragedy for all of those affected. With so many Afghans forced to flee their homeland due to threats of violence and loss of fundamental rights, I believe that Montgomery County and Maryland should be as welcoming as possible to refugees and their families.

It is often said that our diversity is our strength –– a sentiment that was further exemplified by the outpouring of support at a rally I organized at the Silver Spring Civic Building. Attending the rally were leaders in nonprofit, faith-based and community organizations, all of whom shared details about their ongoing work to resettle Afghan refugees and offered ways for residents to provide support.  

Montgomery County is a beautifully diverse place. Immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees and all newcomers strengthen the fabric of our community by enhancing our cultural economy. 

You can read this WTOP article about the rally and watch this video recap of the event.


Pet Adoptions

With more people returning to the office, some of the pets that found homes during the pandemic are unfortunately being returned. To see if this is the case in Montgomery County, I recently visited the newly reopened Animal Services and Adoption Center. The nurturing and care that the staff provide to these animals –– dogs, cats, rabbits and even chickens –– is a testament to the love and compassion we as a community share. And contrary to national trends, adoptions have actually increased since the reopening and the shelter is allowing walk-in appointments for individuals who want to learn more about adoption. 

Visit the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center website to learn more about the adoption center.


Health Clinic Tour

Inequities in our health system make it difficult for individuals to live their healthiest lives. Thankfully we have a number of incredible community-based health clinics in our community to provide services for those in need. During National Health Center week I visited one of those clinics, CCI Health & Wellness Services, and saw firsthand the vital medical and supportive services they provide to over 60k people in Montgomery County and the region.

Thank you to CCI and all the health care professionals who continue keeping us healthy and safe.


Constituent Corner

For months, my office has been helping residents of Dennis Avenue in Silver Spring advocate for safety improvements along their busy corridor. After being alerted by residents of excessive speeding and learning more about the issue, my team held meetings with the County’s Department of Transportation and organized community input to ensure a solution, inline with our Vision Zero goals, would be implemented. I am pleased to report that the Montgomery County Department of Transportation has installed dynamic speed signs along the corridor. The new signs track the speed of cars on Dennis Avenue and I am optimistic they will help slow cars down and make the community safer. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you have concerns about traffic safety in your neighborhood and visit my traffic safety page for tips on how to increase the safety of your neighborhood roads


Did You Know?

Your old computer doesn’t have to go to a landfill. Volunteers with Kindworks, a local nonprofit, can refurbish used computers that are then donated to students and families in need. Many older computers can still be utilized by a child to write and play math games, and by adults who need to access education, work opportunities and stay connected. Click here to learn more about their work.