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COG News - February 2011

Andrea Harrison Elected COG Board Chairman

HarrisonAt its January 2011 meeting, the COG Board of Directors elected Prince George’s County Council Member Andrea Harrison as its Chairman. The COG Board also elected its 2011 Vice Chairs—Prince William County Supervisor Frank Principi and District of Columbia Council Member Phil Mendelson. Harrison previously served for two years as a COG Vice Chair. During this time, she and her colleagues on the COG Board have undertaken a number of initiatives including workforce development, Recovery Act funding grants, and the creation and adoption of Region Forward, a planning guide for the National Capital Region. Harrison has served on the Prince George's County Council since May 2008 following a special election. She was re-elected in 2010. Harrison was the first woman elected to represent District 5 on the County Council and served as the County’s Vice Chair in 2010.

COG Visits Annapolis, Richmond during State Legislative Sessions

Barnes ForehandRustCOG thanks all of the state and local elected officials that attended its outreach events in Annapolis and Richmond this January. (Special thanks to Maryland Delegate Benjamin Barnes, Maryland Senator Jennie Forehand, and Virginia Delegate Tom Rust for serving as co-hosts with COG.) The meetings provided an opportunity for COG to discuss the many ways it can help local and state officials meet their goals and move the region forward. 

Area Leaders Call for Improved Snow Coordination

SnowThe snow and ice storm on January 26 caused unprecedented traffic on area roads and left tens of thousands of residents without power. The region's difficulty to prepare for and recover from this storm, as well as the blizzards of 2010, led several area leaders like D.C. Mayor Vincent
Gray
, D.C. Councilmember Phil Mendelson, and Falls Church City Vice Mayor David Snyder, to call for increased regional cooperation. In their February meetings, the COG Board, Transportation Planning Board, and Emergency Preparedness Council are expected to address the snow coordination issue.

DOTs Release WMATA Governance Reform Work Plan

Transforming Governance of WMATALess than a week after the Joint WMATA Governance Review Task Force (sponsored by COG and the Board of Trade) released its report Moving Metro Forward in November 2010, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, and D.C. Mayor-elect Vincent Gray issued a joint statement that they were "committed to working together to advance the implementation of the Task Force's recommendations." After a 45-day review of the Task Force report as well as the Riders Advisory Council's (RAC) governance report, the three state Departments of Transportation released a plan and schedule for reforming WMATA on January 10, 2011. The COG Board received a presentation from the COG/BOT Task Force at its January meeting and will be briefed on the state DOT plan as well as the RAC report at its next meeting. To view the state DOT WMATA governance work plan as well as news clips on the WMATA governance reform initiative, click here.  

Foreclosure Network Awards New Funding

Capital Area Foreclosure NetworkOn January 27, the Capital Area Foreclosure Network (CAFN) announced that it is awarding $160,000 to seven local nonprofit organizations to expand or maintain funding for foreclosure prevention. The funding is part of CAFN’s Foreclosure Prevention Fund, which includes financial support and grants from United Way of the National Capital Area and NeighborWorks America. In a collaborative effort, Housing Initiative Partnership, a HUD-approved housing counseling agency in Prince George’s County, is using a federal appropriation to make matching grants to support bi-lingual housing counselors in the county. For more information on the award recipients, click here.

Ted Graham Retires from COG

GrahamOn January 26, COG celebrated the retirement of Ted Graham. For 13 years, Graham served as Water Resources Program Director. His ties to the Council of Governments date back to earlier jobs with Montgomery County and the WSSC when he served on several COG committees, such as the Water Resources Planning Board, Environmental Policy Committee, and the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee. Graham helped craft the 1985 Blue Plains Intermunicipal Agreement, which led to the cleanup of the Potomac River and supported 25 years of regional growth and development. He has been an influential leader on Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts, insuring the engagement of COG members in the process. He has also played a key role in accelerating the Anacostia watershed restoration by helping create an Anacostia Steering Committee and building new partnerships. "Ted Graham is a regional leader, a committed environmentalist, an advocate for local government, a mentor, an advisor, a great colleague and friend," said Stuart Freudberg, COG's Director of Environmental Programs. [pictured above: COG's Steve Bieber, Heidi Bonnaffon, Ted Graham, and Aubin Maynard] To view Ted Graham's retirement book, click here.

Social Media Updates

FacebookAlicia LewisSophie MintierCOG staff members took part in this year's regional homeless count and shared first-hand accounts and reactions on COG's Facebook page and Region Forward blog. Read entries by Alicia Lewis and Sophie Mintier.

For the Region Forward blog, click here. For The COG Facebook page, click here.

Upcoming COG Meetings/Events

Click title to view agenda and other information. To view the complete Events Calendar, including special events and meetings of policy and technical committees, click here.

February 9: COG Board of Directors
February 13-15: 2011 NARC National Conference of Regions
February 16: Transportation Planning Board
February 23:
Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee
February 23: Helicopter Community Forum

About COG

For more than 50 years, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, known as COG, has helped develop solutions to issues of regional importance. COG is an independent, nonprofit association comprised of elected officials from 21 local governments, members of the Maryland and Virginia legislatures, and members of the U.S. Congress. The Metropolitan Memo is sent to COG’s membership of over 250 local, state and federal elected officials as well as regional stakeholders and citizens. To be added to the Metro Memo subscription list or make changes to your subscription, please contact Steve Kania.
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