|GIVE ME THE 311
Most every one knows that you call 911 in an emergency, but where do you turn to in a non-emergency?
In Montgomery County, it's quite simple. You dial 311.
From 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, residents can dial 311 to get tips on requesting a county service, finding a government program and getting information on a variety of topics. The call-in center and 311 Web site are designed to help residents quickly pinpoint the easiest way to navigate through the county government's extensive network of services, programs and regulations.
The 311 system employs a state-of-the-art database of information and services about county government. It is updated regularly and some facets even operate in real time. For example, the system can provide real-time information in the event of an emergency, like a water main break, health warning or weather-related incident.
Customer service representatives can help with Ride On Bus schedules, trash pick-ups, permitting and licensing issues, landlord and tenant issues, property tax questions, live and dead animal complaints, and many other important topics. montgomerycountymd.gov/311
GRIEF COUNSELING FOR KIDS
It's a camp that you hope no young child or teen will ever want to attend, but thanks to Hospice Caring, Inc. and the Moyer Foundation, Camp Erin is now available to Montgomery County residents.
The location at the Claggett Center in Adamstown is one of 45 Camp Erins across the country that serve more than 3,000 children annually. The free bereavement camp is a weekend-long program that mixes traditional, fun camp activities with grief education and emotional support. The sessions are led by grief professionals and trained volunteers and are designed to help children aged 6 to 17 who have suffered the loss of someone very close to them.
By bringing together youths facing similar circumstances, Camp Erin aims to enhance levels of hope and increase self-esteem. Registration is now open for the inaugural session to be held October 28-30. That session will target teens aged 13 to 17 while another camp in June of 2017 will serve those aged 6 to 17.
According to government statistics, approximately 1.5 million children experience the death of a parent each year while countless others suffer the loss of a relative or close friend. Given their age, such children have a much greater chance for depression, suicide and substance abuse problems. hospicecaring.org/camp-erin.html or moyerfoundation.org
DEER MANAGEMENT IN THE COUNTY
It certainly won't make your summer reading list, but the annual report and recommendations for fiscal 2017 by the county's Deer Management Work Group is an interesting read.
We all love to watch the graceful white-tail deer that seem to be everywhere in the county - until they run in front of our car, spread disease, ruin our lawn or destroy our crops. Surprisingly, white-tail deer nearly disappeared from the eastern U.S. in the early 1900's until a reintroduction program 30 years later helped the Odocoileus virginianus thrive again.
As the deer population steadily increased, especially over the last 25 years, conflicts with humans also increased. Montgomery Parks, which oversees the work group, takes its deer management programs seriously and the annual report is a quick, 24-page education on how the county plans to co-exist with its furry friends that can run faster than 40 mph.
The easy-to-read report is full of facts (there were 1,965 reported deer-vehicle collisions last year), figures (77,214 pounds of deer meat have been donated to food banks via herd thinning programs since 2004), maps and surveys. MORE INFO
Need a birthday party idea, rainy day or everyday activity for the little tyke or teen in your family? Here are three great MoCo places and businesses that cater to kids and birthdays.
GAITHERSBURG COMMUNITY MUSEUM
"Story Time Station" is a monthly, 45-minute book reading recommended for ages 3 to 6. The enrichment program takes place the fourth Tuesday of every month at 11:00 a.m. Admission per child is $3 while adults and infants are free.
ROCK CREEK REGIONAL PARK - The park in Rockville features the 75-acre Lake Needwood where you can rent kayaks, rowboats, canoes or pedal boats. The boat house also offers fishing equipment for sale and rent, bait, snacks and supplies. Private boats can be launched with a permit and there are group tours of the lake available on the Queen Needwood. There are 13 miles of hiking trails and the 55-acre Lake Frank is just 10 minutes away. lakeneedwoodboats.com or montgomeryparks.org
SKY ZONE - The trampoline park in Gaithersburg is great for birthday parties and group events and offers a variety of activities and programs. Sky Zone promises a great workout combined with healthy fun as well as the experience of bouncing, flipping and landing in a pit filled with 10,000 foam cubes. skyzone.com