The Silver Spring Regional Center occasional "e-blast"                
(Reemberto Rodriguez, Director)
Released Saturday, March 13, 2021 at Noon

(Information regarding relaxing of certain capacity restrictions
for businesses, institution, sports, gathering, and more.)


Statement from the Montgomery County Council
and County Executive Elrich
on March 12 Board of Health regulation
and the road to reopening

Read full press release

Please visit our more robust directory of
"All Things Silver Spring"
for much more information, links, and contacts.




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Check out another great newsletter from Montgomery County!


Coronavirus COVID-19 info

for the latest, please see the Press Releases.

Coronavirus Vaccine Information


Who is currently receiving vaccines?

  • County staff are vaccinating frontline health care workers and first responders (those who come into contact with ill and injured residents)
  • The State is providing vaccines to hospitals, who are administering vaccine to their staffs
  • federal contract through CVS and Walgreens is providing vaccine directly to nursing home staff and residents.
Vaccination clinics operated by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) are now offering COVID-19 vaccine to residents 65 to 74 years old, as well as essential workers, a priority group which includes transit workers, teachers, child care workers and individuals with developmental disabilities as vaccine supply allows. Community providers, including hospitals and retailers continue to vaccinate residents 65 and older, as well as educators and child care workers. The community-based providers are independent of the County-operated vaccination clinics.

Those 65 and older, frontline workers, and those with high risk medical conditions can preregister:  
For much more:
visit the County’s
main website and/or the COVID-19 website 
follow Montgomery County on 
Facebook @MontgomeryCountyInfo 

Watch recorded version of the






for some virtual events coming up

(Scroll down or link takes you to more info in this newsletter)
Don't Stress, Take The Test
Purple Line Update: Eligible Construction Firms Named
NOAA Open House Weekly Virtual Open House Events
Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities Plan Updates
Join the CREATE Arts Center Board of Directors
Silver Spring Downtown (Real Estate) Developments Recently Built, Under Construction, and Approved Presentation
Campaign Launched to Save Long Branch Restaurants: ‘Pledge to Preserve’
County Council Calendar
Interfaith Candle Vigil for COVID-19
Middle Eastern American Authors Series at Montgomery County Public Libraries
Montgomery Planning to present Pedestrian Master Plan survey results at March 18 Planning Board meeting
Montgomery County to Host COVID-19 Economic Revitalization and Recovery Virtual Town Hall on Friday, March 19, with Focus on WorkSource Montgomery and Jobs Opportunities
Spring Equinox Drum Circle on Zoom
Montgomery County Food Access Survey

Online Process to Request Food Assistance Resources Available 24/7
*Montgomery County Press Releases*

Don't Stress, Take The Test

Tuesday, March 16th at 10am

Free Pandemic Swag, Free Covid-19 Testing,
& Onsite Vaccine Pre-Registration in Montgomery County, MD

Don't Stress, Take the Test. AAHP is hosting free Covid-19 tests in Montgomery County, MD with no appointment required. This procedure is quick, self-administered, and noninvasive. Everyone will receive a pandemic swag box which includes masks, gloves, sanitizer, a digital thermometer, and more! Also, residents will receive a complimentary bag of groceries, school supplies, and the ability to pre-register for vaccination on-site. So please join us.

Tuesday, 3/16
10 am – 4 pm

Norbeck Community Baptist Church
2631 Norbeck Road
Silver Spring, MD 20906 

More test sites and resources at

Purple Line Update: Eligible Construction Firms Named

Purple Line Transit Partners, the consortium still responsible for the project, along with the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Transit Administration, last week announced the three finalist teams that are eligible to bid on the contract to finish line. They are:
  • Halmar International - a large infrastructure firm based in New York, that has been involved in the design, construction, financing, operation, and “technological innovation” for public-private transportation projects throughout North America. Halmar was part of the Accelerate MarylandExpress Partners consortium that made an unsuccessful bid for the I-495/I-270 project.
  • Maryland Transit Solutions - a partnership between Dragados USA and OHL USA. Both are New York-based firms. Dragados is a road and bridge construction firm that was part of the Potomac Mobility Group, a consortium that expressed initial interest in the I-495/I-270 project but later declined to submit a bid. OHL’s global headquarters are in Madrid.
  • Tutor-Perini/Lunda - Tutor-Perini, based near Los Angeles, has done many massive highway, aviation, stadium, roads, bridges, and transit projects. Lunda Construction Co. is a Wisconsin based firm company that specializes in bridge, railroad, and industrial construction in the Midwest.
In the next few weeks, Purple Line Transit Partners will solicit formal proposals from the three. The consortium will make its selection in June, with the hope of issuing a contract in September.

NOAA Open House Weekly Virtual Open House Events

Each week in March 2021, join the NOAA Live! Virtual Open House webinar series, and “visit” a few places where NOAA works across the country. Explore the hangar where NOAA keeps hurricane hunter planes, come inside the nation’s oldest public aquarium, sniff seafood at a NOAA seafood inspection lab, visit “mission control” where NOAA commands satellites in space, dive deep into an underwater sanctuary, and more - all from home!  

These free events are geared toward 2nd-8th graders, and they’re perfect for classrooms and families. All webinars are moderated and feature an American Sign Language interpreter.

Register now! Space is limited. Visit for more details.


Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities

Plan Updates

Join us for Virtual Visioning Sessions this March!

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our Visioning Phase! This is the phase where the Montgomery Planning team works with you to craft the vision for the future of Silver Spring. We will start in mid-March with the goal of arriving at a draft plan by the fall of 2021. There will be many ways to participate!
To get started, we will host five community virtual Visioning Sessions. These sessions will be held on Tuesdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. throughout March and April. All of these sessions will be interactive - we will 'sketch' a plan and gather virtual sticky notes full of ideas for different areas of the plan. Because of the interactive format, we will be capping attendance at 40 people for each session.
We are organizing this initial stage of sessions by "Visioning Districts" to help us focus the discussion on each of these areas; all of the work from these sessions will be pulled together into one cohesive vision for the plan area. Please refer to the map below to understand how these “districts,” which are only a tool for the Visioning Sessions, are organized.
To register, click the links below (all events will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m.):
March 23 - South Silver Spring
March 30 - Metro Center/Ripley District
April 6 - Fenton Village
April 13 - Adjacent Communities
April 20 - North Silver Spring
If you register, you will receive a reminder 48 hours before the event, and a request to let us know if you cannot make it, so we can ensure we are not holding spots for those who are unable to attend. All sessions will be recorded and posted on the website.
We recommend participants join these sessions via computer or tablet, as it will be more challenging to follow the session on a smartphone. Participants will be allowed to join via phone, and facilitators will work to include them in the event, even if they cannot see the screen.


Join the CREATE Arts Center Board of Directors

Bring your passion for volunteerism and community engagement to CREATE Arts Center as a member of our Board of Directors!

CREATE is looking for energetic self-starters who are passionate about making a difference in our local community. We are seeking a candidate for Board treasurer, along with individuals with skills in finance/accounting, networking, and fundraising. We welcome all candidates who are interested in being a part of a fast-growing organization committed to providing quality arts programs and art therapy/mental health services to people in Montgomery County and across the DMV.  Board members do NOT have to have a background in art.

As an officer of the corporation and member of the Board, the primary responsibility of the Treasurer is to oversee the reporting of the organization’s finances. In this position, the Treasurer works closely with our Executive Director to review budgets and audits, and monitor our financial health. The Treasurer is expected to attend all Board meetings (virtually). 

CREATE provides art education programs for all ages, community arts partnerships to strengthen community ties, and art therapy services to people living with mental health challenges and developmental disabilities. Board Members should be willing, able and enthusiastic about utilizing their expertise and community networks to further the organization’s mission and goals. 

Please direct inquiries to Linda Marson, Executive Director,

Silver Spring Downtown (Real Estate) Developments Recently Built, Under Construction, and Approved Presentation

Meeting Recording

A Special Presentation by the Planning Department in collaboration with the Regional Director on the major projects recently built, under construction, and approved in the Silver Spring Region

Through the years the Planning Department has done these informative presentations highlighting what is happening in the real estate market in Silver Spring. This year, Elza Hisel-McCoy, DownCounty Chief Planner and Stephanie Dickel, Area 1 Supervisor,  made the presentation. Please catch the replay and the presentation above!

Campaign Launched to Save Long Branch Restaurants:

‘Pledge to Preserve’


This February, residents of the Long Branch neighborhood began signing on to a campaign to save their neighborhood restaurants. The campaign, called Pledge to Preserve, was launched Feb. 5 by the Long Branch Business League and MHP.

Zeroing in on the many restaurants in the Long Branch neighborhood that have suffered enormous financial losses over the past year of pandemic-related damages, the initiative asks community members to voluntarily commit to purchasing meals at least three times a month from any Long Branch restaurant.

At the end of the campaign’s first week, already twenty-eight local residents had signed on to the campaign.  “If we can get every person on our list to convince one friend to pledge, we can double that number soon,” said Catherine Rytkonen, the Business League’s marketing manager.

The Pledge to Preserve webpage lists the 15 participating Long Branch restaurants — along with their cuisine type, menu, and social media connections.  

The initiative represents a local Long Branch response to a wider national crisis. According to the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC), one in four jobs lost during the pandemic have been in the food and beverage industry. That’s the equivalent of 5.9 million jobs lost.

According to the same study, if no direct aid is provided some 85 percent of independent restaurants will likely close by the end of this year.

The pandemic-related crisis hit a small business sector that could ill afford such a challenge.

“Even in normal, non-pandemic years it is difficult to run a restaurant and keep it in the black,” the Pledge to Preserve webpage points out.  “Many restaurants generate as much as half their annual income from  weddings, parties, and  holiday-related events (Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Christmas). This year all that has been cancelled.” 

What is more, even though Long Branch’s restaurants have so far managed to keep their doors open, there is no guarantee they will all survive the coming months without vigorous and, indeed, greatly increased support from private persons and the public sector.

County Council Calendar

Click the image below for more information

Click the image above for more information

Interfaith Candle Vigil for COVID-19
Sunday, March 14th at 3pm

Click the image above to join on Zoom


Middle Eastern American Authors Series at
Montgomery County Public Libraries


In partnership with the Office of Community Partnerships’ Middle Eastern American Advisory Group (MEAGG), Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) will offer a series of programs focusing on various Middle Eastern American authors and illustrators.

The free virtual author series will take place monthly on the third Tuesday from 7 to 8 p.m. February through July. The events will be moderated by Debbie Trent, MEAGG chair, or Karen Leggett, co-chair of the Maryland Friends of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Egypt). Registration is required for the free programs.

Hena Khan; March 16

Hena Khan, award-winning Pakistani-American children’s author, whose works include Amina’s Voice, named a Best Book of 2017 by the Washington Post, Kirkus Reviews and NPR, and its sequel Amina’s Song.

Rashin Kheiriyeh; April 20

Rashin Kheiriyeh, internationally recognized author/illustrator, who has published more than 80 books in the U.S, Europe, and Asia, including her native Iran. 

Nadia Hashimi; May 18

Nadia Hashimi, Montgomery County pediatrician turned novelist, whose parents came to the U.S. from Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion and author of Sparks Like Stars.

Susan Muaddi Daraj; June 15

Susan Muaddi Daraj, author of A Curious Land: Stories from Home, a short story collection which won the 2014 AWP Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction and a 2016 Arab American Book Award.

Pauline Kaldas; July 20

Pauline Kaldas, Professor of English and Creative Writing at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA and author of Looking Both Ways, a collection of essays and The Penguin Book of Migration Literature.

Montgomery Planning to present Pedestrian Master Plan survey results at March 18 Planning Board meeting
Thursday, March 18 at 9:00 am
The Montgomery County Planning Department, will present the results of its Pedestrian Master Plan survey at the March 18 Planning Board meeting. The Pedestrian Master Plan, currently underway, will identify best practices, analyze information from people who walk and roll, and examine ways to improve the pedestrian experience using several analytical tools, including a pedestrian comfort map and a crash analysis.

The findings from the countywide pedestrian survey, conducted in fall 2020, will inform the Pedestrian Master Plan’s existing conditions report and future recommendations by helping Montgomery Planning better understand pedestrian travel attitudes and behaviors. The survey findings also will serve as a benchmark to analyze trends in pedestrian behavior over time.

“This is the first time we have a statistically valid survey where residents throughout the county shared insights into how and why they walk and roll,” said project manager Eli Glazier. “These invaluable data points will help staff make recommendations for the Pedestrian Master Plan, Vision Zero efforts and master planning.”

Montgomery County to Host COVID-19 Economic Revitalization and Recovery Virtual Town Hall on Friday, March 19, with Focus on WorkSource Montgomery and Jobs Opportunities
Friday, March 19th at 12:00pm

“Partnerships and Professionals” will be the theme from noon-1 p.m. on Friday, March 19, when Montgomery County’s COVID-19 Economic Revitalization and Recovery program continues its series of virtual town hall meetings to keep businesses informed on strategies for doing business as the health crisis continues. The upcoming town hall will feature Anthony Featherstone, new executive director of WorkSource Montgomery.

County Executive Marc Elrich initiated the series of town halls held every other Friday as a way to share timely updates on COVID-19 topics of interest to the business community. The town halls give businesses an opportunity to hear directly from County leaders. Jerome Fletcher, the County’s assistant chief administrative officer (ACAO) for economic development, hosts the sessions. He also provides updates on grant programs available to County businesses and offers ideas that can help economic recovery.

During the March 19 town hall, Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Featherstone will discuss getting the County’s unemployment rate back to where it was before COVID-19, which was well-below the national average.

Topics they will cover include the public workforce system, special initiatives during the pandemic, services for job seekers and services for businesses.

If business owners, employees or residents have questions they would like to see addressed at the March 19 town hall, they can be submitted by Wednesday, March 17, to

The town hall for the first time will change to the Zoom platform. To join the broadcast, go to

The passcode will be 691810.

The town hall will be broadcast County Cable Montgomery—Channel 6 and HD 996 on Comcast; Channel 6 and HD 1056 on RCN; and Channel 30 on Verizon. The town hall can be viewed live via County social media at

Town halls are recorded and available through the Montgomery County Business Portal at

Spring Equinox Drum Circle on Zoom
Friday, March 19th at 7pm

Click the image above to Register!

Join us for a Spring Equinox Drum Circle with Katy Gaughan as we drum in a new season!

FREE & Everyone Welcome!

Fun for the whole family!

Montgomery County Food Access Survey

Today, the Food Council launched a short 8-question COVID-19 Community Food Access survey seeking input from residents to guide Montgomery County food security initiatives in 2021. Residents’ feedback on how the County can best serve our communities and improve food access during and after the COVID-19 pandemic is essential to informing program implementation, policy development, and future funding priorities.

The deadline for survey responses is Wednesday, March 17th, 2021. The survey is currently available in English and Spanish, and we will be launching the survey in French, Amharic and Mandarin in the coming weeks. 

Residents who complete Part I of the survey will be entered in a drawing to win a $25 gift card, and residents who complete Parts I and II of the survey will be entered to win a $50 gift card. 

Online Process to
Request Food Assistance
Resources Available 24/7

Residents looking for information on food assistance resources can now request help by completing a simple online form. Available in seven languages (Amharic, Chinese, English, French, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese), the form is reviewed by a trained resource specialist, and residents receive a return phone call within one business day. The specialist will determine a resident’s individual food needs and help them locate food assistance in their community. No Personally identifiable information is needed to get help.

Information is available about free food distribution sites, free meal and grocery delivery, SNAP (Food Stamps), local food assistance providers, and other resources in Montgomery County. Residents can also call 311 and ask for the Food Access Call Center to get help with their food needs.

The Food Access Call Center opened in June 2020 and has been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to address the increasing need for food assistance across the County. As of mid-December, the Food Access Call Center has responded to more than 2,000 calls/referrals.

Montgomery County Press Releases
for the latest news


County Executive

County Council



State Government


If you live in Takoma Park, you can also visit the City's link:
Si vives en Takoma Park, también puedes visitar el enlace de la Ciudad

Please visit our more robust directory of
"All Things Silver Spring"
for much more information, links, and contacts.

Silver Spring Civic Building
One Veterans Plaza
Silver Spring, MD  20910
comments, ideas, and/or suggestions?  e-mail HERE
See you around Silver Spring!