Nancy Floreen's Montgomery in Focus, March edition

Golden Shovel Awards

snow shovel

Did someone you know make your neighborhood safer? Nominate them for a Golden Shovel.

I started the Golden Shovel awards in 2003 to honor residents who lace up their boots to help neighbors shovel out after a snowfall. I'm bringing the awards back this year after a four-year hiatus due to a lack of snow. The awards recognize individuals who go above and beyond in helping clear ice and snow from County sidewalks.

Our seniors, school children, people with disabilities and those who walk to work or use mass transit depend on snow-free sidewalks. This goes beyond convenience--it is a matter of public safety. I certainly hope that residents will nominate for a Golden Shovel those individuals who put the Golden Rule to work. Get the nomination form.

Apply Now for Planning Board

Apply now to fill a position on the Montgomery County Planning Board for the expiring term of Françoise Carrier. Her term will expire on June 14, 2014. Ms. Carrier, who serves as the Planning Board Chair, has indicated that she will not apply for reappointment.

The Planning Board serves as the Council’s principal adviser on land use planning and community planning. Planning Board members also serve as Commissioners of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

The Council will designate a new chair in conjunction with the appointment process by designating either the appointee or another sitting Board member. Send your application by than 5 p.m. on April 7. Learn more.

New Animal Services Center Opens

white dog

They say if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.

The new Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center opens to the public for business on Sunday, March 2, at noon. The Center will be operational for walk-in business, and animals will be available for viewing and adoption.

The state-of-the-art facility is operated by the Montgomery County Police Department’s Animal Services Division and serves as the County’s only open-admissions animal shelter.

Programs and services offered at the new Center will include: adoptions, lost and found, pet licensing, field services, pet-owner and adopter support and foster and volunteer opportunities – with the anticipation of more program development to come. Learn more.

Local Nonprofit Leader Named CNN Hero

Nancy Floreen talking with staff at A Wider Circle.

Congratulations to Mark Bergel from A Wider Circle for being named a 2014 CNN Hero! More than 10,000 individuals from around the world were nominated this year, so for A Wider Circle's work to be honored in this way is absolutely incredible--and well deserved. You may remember Mark and A Wider Circle from the award-winning docuomentary The Unseen Montgomery, which highlights the hidden poverty in Montgomery County.

The CNN piece will air several times over the next few days on various CNN networks. You can also watch the video and read the article online.

Fast Fact

Montgomery County's unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in December 2013, according to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. This is the lowest it has been in five years, when in 2008 it was also 4.1 percent. That is below the Maryland rate of 5.7 percent and is the second lowest in the state after Howard County.

Green Tip of the Month

The 840 on-street parking meters in Bethesda are being replaced with new solar-powered “smart” parking meter heads that expand payment options. The new meters will accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit cards in addition to coins or pay-by-cell phone. Learn more.

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 legislative 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.

March 2014

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