THEN Covid hit and we went virtual. We were serving the existing members for 6 months and then decided to 're-open' to the public on Oct. 1. We gained 4 new members who never knew the in-person program. It's touching to see them bonding and benefiting from the connection so quickly via the screen!
We have switched to Zoom programming for our early memory loss social engagement program. All of our programs are free and we anticipate they will remain free until we are able to meet in person again.
INTERESTED IN LISTENING TO JAZZ MUSIC AND RECEIVING INFORMATION ON
NEW RELEASES AND OTHER JAZZ NEWS.....JOIN US!US!
The Praisner Jazz Club members continue to communicate, and listen to jazz music weekly on Thursdays,10:00am-1:00 pm, at Jazz Now live at Takomaradio.org or WOWD LP 94.3 FM. Jazz Now features a tour of progressive, standard, urban, avant garde and smooth jazz, and often with interviews of musicians from various genres. Club members also make requests for inclusion on the weekly Jazz Now playlists as desired, and receive ongoing information from the host about new jazz releases, virtual performances streaming live, and other jazz news. Jazz Now is hosted and produced by Ed Smith, who is a member of the Jazz Club.
JOIN US:: See the Jazz Now link at mocorec.com on the Montgomery County
Department of Recreation Virtual Rec Room hub.
JAZZ NOW Streaming live@Takomaradio.org WOWD LP 94.3 FM
Thursdays 10 AM until 1 PM ET
Ed Smith, Jazz Now Host and Producer
Please do share this playlist within your community.
Dear Members, Friends and Volunteers,
Montgomery County Issues New COVID Mitigation Measures Among Rising Cases
In case you missed it, Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles announced new restrictions that went into effect at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Indoor gatherings are now limited to no more than 10 people, though this does not apply to business establishments and other facilities permitted to operate as outlined in Executive Order 122-20, which permits up to 25 percent occupancy or 25 people, whichever is lower. Outdoor gatherings continue to be limited to 25 people.
The new order also requires that residents wear face coverings (as defined here) outside their homes whenever they are likely to come in contact with others who are not members of their household. As a precaution, residents are advised to always carry a face covering with them just in case they unexpectedly come in close contact with others. There are exceptions, however. A face covering is not required if you are:
Governor launches broad COVID-19 compliance & enforcement operation
This past Monday, Governor Hogan announced the launch of a wide-scale compliance, education, and enforcement operation to slow the spread of the virus. This all-hands-on-deck operation went into effect on Nov. 25, and will continue through the holiday season.
State troopers are being assigned in every county to work in partnership with local leaders, law enforcement and other county officials, with a focus on educating the public about existing orders and protocols, preventing super-spreading events, and taking enforcement actions when necessary.
MSP has a 24/7 COVID-19 Prevention Hotline, where members of the public can report unsafe facilities and activities or public health order violations. Anyone who sees unlawful behavior are encouraged to report it by sending an email to Prevent.Covid@maryland.gov or calling (833) 979-2266.
COVID-19 vaccine may be available here by the end of 2020
Last week, Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles noted that a COVID-19 vaccine could be available in Montgomery County as early as late December, assuming that the the FDA approves one or more vaccine as safe and effective. Gayles said at a media briefing that the vaccine would be distributed in phases. The first phase would focus on first responders, health care workers, essential workers and residents with increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, such as those with underlying medical conditions and people at least 65 years old.
The Maryland Department of Health has released its vaccination plan, which states that the second phase would be wide-scale distribution of a vaccine. A third phase would be continued vaccination and a shift to a routine strategy. You can read more in Bethesda Beat.
Help Fight COVID Using Your Phone
If you use a smartphone, you can help with Maryland's contact tracing efforts at no cost. iPhone users only need to opt into Exposure Notifications and select Maryland as the region, while Android users can download the MD COVID Alert app from the Google Play store. The whole system is anonymous and designed to protect your privacy. Once you have set it up, your phone will use Bluetooth Low Energy technology -- NOT location settings or GPS -- to determine if you have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, and alert you about your potential exposure.
Currently, MD COVID Alert works with the neighboring jurisdictions of DC, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Users who work or travel between these regions will receive Exposure Notifications if they come in close contact with another user that has verified a positive test result. You can read more about how to install MD COVID Alert/Exposure Notifications here. A recent article in The Washington Post also describes the programs and provides links to other states' COVID tracking apps.
Supporting Local Businesses Impacted by COVID
If you are looking to help local businesses stay afloat while doing your holiday shopping this weekend and beyond, the Bethesda Urban Partnership has launched a digital gift card program called Bethesda Bucks. Bethesda Bucks e-cards can be used at restaurants, shops and other businesses in downtown Bethesda. Nearly 50 businesses are participating, including many restaurants and other food establishments, but also Strosniders, Bethesda Florist, The Blue House and Urban Country.
Customers select a gift card amount from between $5 and $250, enter the recipient’s email address and phone number, and pay the selected amount. Recipients are notified of the gift in an email and a text message, and can check the balance of their card on their smartphones.
COVID-19 Information Portal
Montgomery County’s COVID-19 Information Portal provides a variety of breakdowns on how the virus has impacted the County, such as the positivity rate, the number of cases, and hospitalization numbers. The statistics are regularly updated to reflect the most recent reports during the health crisis. Find the Data Dashboard here.
COVID-19 testing schedule for the upcoming week
Amidst rising numbers of new COVID-19 cases, Montgomery County health officials continue to urge all residents to get tested for COVID-19 and will provide free walk-in and drive-thru COVID-19 testing at multiple sites during the upcoming week. Testing is important for everyone so that health officials can track the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Some individuals with COVID-19 can be asymptomatic (without symptoms) and spread the disease to vulnerable groups, such as the elderly.
Testing clinics are free, no doctor’s order is required, and no appointments are needed. Residents who are experiencing symptoms should call the Testing Helpline at 240-777-1755 for assistance with scheduling testing, as not all sites accept residents with symptoms. Some testing site locations have changed to accommodate weather changes. You can read the schedule of upcoming Montgomery County testing clinics, as well as other testing options that might charge money, here
Sources: Bethesda Chevy-Chase Regional Services; Montgomery County; Maryland.Gov; Bethesda Beat; Maryland Department of Health's COVID Link; The Washington Post.
Housing Initiative Partnership (HIP), a nonprofit housing developer and counseling agency, is launching a Home Sharing Program in Montgomery County, beginning December 1, 2020. The goal is to successfully identify and match renters who are seeking affordable housing options with homeowners who have attractive and safe spare bedrooms in their homes, or Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) on their property, to rent long-term. The homeowners must live in the home full time to participate.
HIP’s Montgomery County Home Sharing Program is supported by Montgomery County’s Department of Health & Human Services, and uses Silvernest.com to match Homeowners (HO) with compatible Home Seekers (HS). No housing subsidies are available.
Below you will find the links to a survey for Homeowners and a separate survey for Home Seekers. We would love to get your input on whether a Home Sharing arrangement is something you would consider. Feel free to also forward the survey links to friends and family members who might also have an interest in learning more about this new initiative.
For more information, please call HIP: 301-85-SHARE (301-857-4273)
For home owners: https://hiphomes.org/home-sharing/
For home seekers: https://hiphomes.org/home-seekers/
HIP Home Sharing Team
Online appointment system for flu shot clinics
Montgomery County health officials urge all residents to get a flu vaccination and announced dates for free clinics. While getting a flu vaccination does not protect against COVID-19, flu shots have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death. Getting a flu vaccination can also save health care resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.
Seasonal flu vaccinations are available through private health providers, as well as at retail locations throughout the community. County-sponsored seasonal flu vaccination clinics will include free clinics for residents over the age of 14 and two free clinics specifically for children ages six months to 18 years of age. This year there will be one drive-thru flu clinic. The County will offer flu shots only. High-dose flu vaccine and FluMist will not be available.
Saturday, Nov. 7
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Dennis Avenue Health Center
2000 Dennis Avenue, Silver Spring
Saturday, Nov. 21
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Dennis Avenue Health Center
2000 Dennis Avenue, Silver Spring
Appointments for the children’s only clinics can be made on the Maryland Vax website. There will be no walk-ups for these clinics. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Anyone not wanting to get the flu should receive the seasonal flu vaccination, particularly the elderly, household members living with children younger than six months of age, health care workers and individuals with chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.
Check the County’s flu website for more information. For the latest Reopening Montgomery updates, visit the County’s website.
Maryland's COVID-19 mass vaccination plan
Governor Larry Hogan announced the release of the State of Maryland’s draft two-phase COVID-19 mass vaccination plan, which was submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week. See the draft plan.
Phase 1 will focus on vaccinating priority groups who are at highest risk of developing complications from COVID-19 and those in critical industries:
Consumers and restaurants charged large fees by online food-delivery services
Montgomery County’s Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) is alerting consumers and restaurant owners about the confusing and costly fees charged by third-party online food ordering-and-delivery services.
Although these companies often advertise free or low delivery fees, the commissions they charge restaurants are far higher, typically totaling 20 to 40 percent or more of each order. Many patrons are unaware of these high costs.
A recent report in Washington Consumers’ Checkbook provided details on the impact the fees have on restaurants and patrons. The report can be found linked from the OCP website at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/ocp/ or directly from the Consumers’ Checkbook site at https://tinyurl.com/y6geenfg.
Many restaurants, which have turned to delivery companies to compensate for the loss of dine-in revenue, must rely upon companies such as Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash, which have bought up many of their competitors. The fees imposed by the major ordering services may result in restaurants losing substantial portions of any revenue these companies might provide.
The Consumers’ Checkbook report describes how the big food-ordering services are causing major financial problems for restaurants. Checkbook reports that even consumers who never use these apps stand to be affected as restaurants raise their menu prices to account for large commissions paid to these websites and apps.
The report provides guidance for consumers and restaurant owners. For example:
The holidays bring festive times . . . and scammers
As the holidays approach, the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) wants consumers to be aware that online shopping, gift cards and charitable solicitations may not be as honest as they appear.
Online shopping: Paying by credit card is the safest way, because it provides extra protections for most online purchases, dispute procedures and benefits for returns or exchanges. Debit cards, even those with Visa or Mastercard logos, don’t.
If shopping on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Letgo or other third-party marketplaces, be aware that scammers are using stock photos or photos from other real transactions to sell non-existent goods, even rentals.
Beware of fake retail websites selling non-existent goods, many using Shopify as their platform and advertising on social media. These merchants either sell counterfeit goods or have no goods to sell. They may send you empty envelopes for proof of delivery to combat charge-backs or disputes through your bank.
Gift cards. If someone contacts you about unpaid bills and demands payment via a gift or prepaid card, or a wire transfer, that’s a red flag that a scam is afoot. When buying gift cards, make sure the packaging has not been compromised, and don’t buy gift cards that have packaging showing the bar code on the back.
Donations. Before donating to a charity, make sure it’s registered with the Maryland Secretary of State. Then research the organization to make sure it uses the money received for the work and not to hire call centers to get more money.
More in the press release.
Click here to see the full array. And check out the Montgomery Parks COVID-19 page for information on park facilities that are open and closed under the county's re-opening plan.
Sources: Montgomery County Executive; Montgomery County Dept. of Health and Human Services; Bethesda Chevy-Chase Regional Services; Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection.
We all know that more people need to get out of their cars and into public transportation, which not only is environmentally friendly, but also is the best way to deal with traffic and encourage economic development.
I am pleased to announce that this week we launched the first bus service of its kind in Maryland. We are calling it Flash and it will run north and south along Maryland Route 29—one our most congested traffic routes. This is the start of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network I first proposed a dozen years ago, a network that will eventually connect the major commuting routes in the County.
For the eastern portion of our County, which is starting to see its economic possibilities with the FDA headquarters, the new Adventist Medical Center, the growth of White Oak and so much more, Flash will be a major contributor to what is ahead in its future.
When I proposed BRT, few people wanted to listen. But then our County put together a task force to study real transit—transit that would be reliable, easy to use and would take people where they needed to go—and people liked what they heard. It took a long time, but we finally got it started. It was exciting to see the unique 16 Flash buses roll out on their new routes. But this is just the start. We are also reviewing Flash routes for corridors such as Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike. BRT will not solve all of our traffic problems, but it can make a difference.
In my video this week, I talk about this service. You can also read the story about Flash in this newsletter to learn more about why this is different from our existing bus service.
Regarding the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, we have begun seeing a slight uptick in the numbers and we are watching it very carefully. I know everyone is eager to continue reopening, but we will continue to watch the data and proceed with caution. You may have seen that this new uptick is happening across the country and the world. We are encouraging people to get tested, especially if you think you may have been exposed—and please continue to follow the safety guidelines to prevent the spread of this virus. Getting tested is easy and fast, and on the upcoming schedule, we have 49 test clinics scheduled—the most we have ever scheduled in an eight-day period. They are at various times and at locations across the County. Here is more information on where to get tested.
This week, some special individuals, a dedicated organization and an important national business that calls Montgomery County home were all honored at the annual Montgomery Serves Awards. In a normal year, they would have been honored at a major ceremony, and I would have loved to have been with them to celebrate, but we all know this is not a normal year, so they were honored in virtual ceremonies. Their contributions, however, have been just as monumental as ever.
The Montgomery Serves Awards represent the County’s highest honor for service and volunteerism. You can watch the ceremonies at bit.ly/Watch2020MSA.
Each of the honorees are models of what can be done to help and inspire others. They have been involved in projects that reach a cross-section of our County, ranging from making our neighborhoods stronger, preserving the history of our Black communities, inspiring our youth to become more involved, lifting up the arts and helping our homeless residents.
We are very proud of this year’s award winners, and we thank them for their work and their commitment to Montgomery County.
Guidelines for staying safe and sane for members and volunteers, for all of us
Access Passcode: DuD&q3#6
COVID-19 Testing Now Available at More than 45 Sites in County; 14 Upcoming Opportunities at Free County-Operated Clinics
There are more than 45 sites in Montgomery County where residents can get tested for COVID-19, including County-operated and privately operated clinics. There will be County-operated testing at 14 clinics on the upcoming schedule.
Testing at County clinics is free, does not require a doctor’s referral and is available by making advance appointments or on a walk-up basis. Reservations can be made online at www.MoCoCOVIDtesting.org.
Marilyn Emery has been a resident of Kensington for over 30 years. Through her job as a Realtor she often works with residents and their families who are facing the decisions to age in place, or move. This gives her a view of the many decisions that go into what it takes to safely stay in your home.
Over the years Marilyn has been very active as a volunteer in her neighborhood, local schools and her church. She finds these activities rewarding and energizing.
In her free time Marilyn loves spending time with her family, doing gardening, photography and spending time in the quiet of the woods.