Weekly Message From County Executive Marc Elrich (7/8/21)

Weekly Message From County Executive Marc Elrich (7/8/21)

In County Executive Marc Elrich’s weekly message, he says he hopes Maryland courts will uphold a decision that overruled Governor Larry Hogan’s attempt to block additional Federal payments to unemployed Marylanders.

Elrich also wants residents to know more about the County’s efforts to Reimagine Public Safety and he thinks a program now in place at the Halpine Apartments in Rockville is an important step in preserving and producing affordable housing in the County.

Full message is available below:

Dear Friends,

I hope that everyone had an enjoyable and relaxing 4th of July weekend. For me, reviewing our COVID-19 status and vaccination rates is much more pleasant these days. Eighty-one percent—81 percent—of all eligible residents 12 and older are fully vaccinated.

Here’s the information on County residents who have been vaccinated:

  • 12 and older – 81 percent
  • 18 and older – 83 percent
  • 65 and older – 92 percent (and 98 percent have received at least one dose)

We should all be very proud of these numbers. All of our efforts combined—from all of you – have made us #1 in the country for large jurisdictions. This success did not (and does not) come easily. We have had enormous outreach efforts into hard-to-reach communities. (In fact, some of those efforts just won an Emmy!) We have also worked with students who have created videos to convince their peers to get vaccinated. You can check out some of the amazing videos. As a former teacher, I am always excited to see our young people get involved in important issues like this.

As you may know, we closed the Mass Vaccination Site on the Germantown campus of Montgomery College last week and we opened a new clinic at the UpCounty Regional Service Center beginning on Tuesday. We continue to make sure vaccinations (and testing) are available.

COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits Remain in Place

I am happy to report that the courts temporarily blocked Gov. Larry Hogan’s order to prematurely end federal unemployment benefits. This ruling will allow hundreds of thousands of jobless workers in Maryland to continue to collect this important benefit, which does not cost the state or counties any money. Even though the problems related to COVID-19 are slowly receding, at least some businesses and workers are still struggling and in need. There is another hearing on this issue tomorrow, and I hope that working people will prevail.

Halpine View/Preserving Affordable Housing

This week I announced an exciting new project at the Halpine View Apartments in the Twinbrook neighborhood of Rockville. This project is an important part of our effort to preserve and increase affordable housing in Montgomery County. As the County grows, development pressures threaten our existing stock of affordable housing, and we need to support efforts to preserve existing affordable housing as well as produce additional affordable housing. I appreciate the willingness of the property owners to work with us to preserve and improve access to affordable housing. This agreement requires that, for any new redevelopment of the property, existing residents will have access to the new units at affordable rates, and that all 564 affordable units at Halpine View will continue to be available and include two- and three-bedroom units. It also creates some “deeply affordable” units for people earning 30-50 percent of the area median income (AMI). This project is a win for all of us.

Reimagining Public Safety

Last week I announced the preliminary results of an audit that was conducted to review our police department. This week, we shared the report during a community forum and heard from community members. These efforts are part of our Reimagining Public Safety Initiative. When we started this initiative, I promised to provide regular updates to the community and this week’s forum was the latest update. We have also begun a data dashboard to track our progress on recommendations. If you missed the forum, you can listen. I appreciate your input as we continue this progress.

Traffic Congestion

There has been a lot of conversation about Governor Hogan’s proposal to widen the Beltway and I-270, known as the managed lanes proposal. Since he first announced his proposal, I have expressed my appreciation for his willingness to try to tackle some of the congestion issues. We agree with his concern; we don’t agree with his solution, which is unnecessarily expensive and impactful. We agree that we need two additional lanes from the American Legion Bridge up I-270 in the rush-hour direction, but they can and should be reversible lanes. They would provide two additional southbound lanes in the morning and two additional northbound lanes in the afternoon. Reversible lanes would solve the problem and it would greatly reduce the cost. Contrary to misinformation, the Governor’s proposal does not offer any relief north of I-370; it just moves the traffic choke point. People driving to Germantown, Clarksburg and Frederick will be stuck in soul-crushing traffic, made worse by the current proposal. Additionally, the private financing mechanism is unnecessarily expensive. We have been advocating since the beginning for a complete solution from the American Legion Bridge to Frederick. We want a resolution that is good for the State, County and region and the approach that I have proposed does just that. I look forward to meeting with the Governor’s team very soon as we continue our discussions to best address this issue. I will certainly keep you posted on our progress.

With my ongoing appreciation.

Marc Elrich
County Executive

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Submit your own Announcement here.

Oak Chapel is excited that Priority Partners Managed Care Organization (PPMCO) in partnership with Johns Hopkins HealthCare (JHHC) have selected the Oak Chapel Hub as the location for the first mini-food pantry/mini library in Montgomery County. Please join us for the cupboard unveiling on Saturday, May 18th, at 10 AM (rain or shine). This is scheduled to be an outdoor event. If there is inclement weather, the event will be held in the multi-purpose room of the main church building (Hub distribution location). The cupboard will be fully stocked and ready for the community to take what they need and leave what they can. It is a privilege to be able to continue to serve the 20906 community.

Fighting food insecurity, feeding families.

Submit your own Announcement here.

Movie being filmed in McLean, VA, needs your support

A local community movie is filming in our area in June and needs contributions!

Local actors, teens, teachers, housewives, and retired residences are trying to make this film happen but we need your help.

This is an educational short story about teens learning how to navigate when they don't feel accepted by their friends and what to do to find acceptance. Yet this film isn't just for teens. In your life have you ever felt like you weren't accepted??

Come be a part of the audience for this film! Invite your friends. Be a part of this film being produced right here in our area.

This is a social impact film that will show locally and internationally at film festivals in 2025 and also at colleges.

More information can be found here. DONATE TODAY:

https://www.filmindependent.org/sponsored-projects/ultimate-bias/

https://www.silvanomarifilms.com/jis

This is a not-for-profit film and donations are tax-deductible.

Free Community Father-Daughter Dance

Fathers and father figures, create unforgettable memories with your daughter at our free community father-daughter dance on June 1st, from 6-8 pm. Hosted outdoors at Olney Baptist Church. This event offers a delightful outdoor experience complete with a DJ spinning tunes, interactive games, a charming photo booth, delicious treats, and exciting raffle prizes. Fathers/father figures and daughters of all ages are warmly welcomed to share in this special evening together. Join us for an evening of joy, laughter, and cherished moments!

In the spirit of giving back to our community, we are partnering with Quest to Feed Montgomery to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those in need. We kindly ask each attendee to bring along a non-perishable food item to donate during the event. Every contribution, no matter how small, will go a long way in supporting families facing food insecurity in our area.

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