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County Facing $140M Shortfall for Fiscal 2012

The Gazette reports that Montgomery County has a $145 million budget shortfall that officials already have identified for fiscal 2012, which begins next July.

On Tuesday, county officials told the County Council that known expenditures will be 4.3 percent higher in fiscal 2012 than this year. A fiscal plan approved by the council earlier this year allows for growth of one-tenth of one percent.

To help curb government expenses, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) has directed all county agencies to prepare to trim their budgets by as much as 15 percent. County spokesman Patrick K. Lacefield said such a scenario might not even be the worst case if decisions during the next Maryland General Assembly session, which begins in January, transfer more state expenses — such as teacher pensions — to county government.

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Montgomery County Prepares For Budget Cuts

ROCKVILLE, Md. (WUSA) --- County Executive Ike Leggett, projecting a budget shortfall of between $100 million and $200 million, is asking county departments to prepare for 10% to 15% budget cutbacks to make up the difference.

Everyday Heroes Recognition Ceremony

Leggett Recognizes "Everyday Heroes" for Risking Their Lives to Save Others Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett will pay tribute to a group of “everyday heroes” – local residents who risked their own lives to save others. Last year, Leggett was joined by Fire Chief Tom Carr and Council Public Safety Committee Chair Phil Andrews at the event in Rockville.

“When ordinary residents, through their quick thinking and decisive action, get involved, they can accomplish extraordinary feats of courage and save lives,” said Leggett. “I am proud to recognize our community heroes, many of whom put their own lives at risk in order to help others.”

157 Montgomery County Public School Students Are National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

There are 157 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in the 2011 competition, eight more than the previous year. The semifinalists will go on to compete nationally for scholarships that will be offered in the spring. The competition is sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. 

The MCPS semifinalists come from 16 high schools. The schools and their number of semifinalists are:

Bethesda-Chevy Chase: 8
Montgomery Blair: 40
Blake: 1
Winston Churchill: 13
Clarksburg: 1
Einstein: 1
Poolesville:  9
Quince Orchard: 2
Richard Montgomery: 30
Rockville: 1
Seneca Valley: 1
Springbrook: 3
Walter Johnson: 7
Walt Whitman: 24
Watkins Mill: 1
Wootton: 15

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If You're Taking Metro In & Out of the Rockville Station, Be VERY Careful

I travel in and out of the Rockville Metro Station everyday and something that is quite startling is the subway platform.  As I stand there waiting (for days) for a train to arrive, I look down to see the platform coming apart before my very eyes.  Take a look at the pictures I snapped with my cell phone this morning.  People are stepping on that as they enter and exit the train.  I happened to step off the train one evening and stumbled because I stepped into a spot that was missing platform tiles (like the pictures below).  Now Rockville station is old and is in need of repair.  To be fair, on the weekends, they do close partial parts of the platform to take care of the much needed tile replacement.  But before they open the entire platform again, they need to make sure that the platform is safe to walk on.  Now I'm in and out of the station everyday and the platform has been looking like the pictures below for months now.

Maryland Cell Phone Ban Begins

Maryland residents and those residents who travel through Maryland need to know that on Friday, October 1, 2010 (this Friday) - cell phone use will become illegal while driving. The offense will be a "secondary" offense, meaning that offenders can only be cited with it if they are pulled over for another primary offense like speeding or running a red light.

Beginning on Friday, people who wish to make a call while driving MUST use a hands free device. The fine will be $40 for the first offense and $100 for subsequent violations of the law.

Texting while driving has been illegal for some time now and already carries a fine.

Maryland is following suit with several other states with cellular phone bans while in operation of a motor vehicle, but it is one of the only (if not the only) state to list the law as a "secondary" offense.

Montgomery County Marks Fire Prevention Month

(WUSA) -- The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service plans to hold several open houses at fire stations around the county for Fire Prevention Month. This year's theme is "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With".

All open house events will be free and feature tours of the station, fire safety activities, information and handouts and demonstrations of emergency equipment.

Here's a list of the open houses:

1 - 4pm
Bethesda Fire Department Station 6
6600 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD

11am - 4pm
Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad 5020 Battery Lane, Bethesda, MD