Friday, June 15, 2018

Noise wavers requested for Lyttonsville Place Bridge demolition, bridge could close Monday

Noisy days and nights are ahead for those in earshot of the Lyttonsville Place Bridge. Purple Line Transit Constructors has requested temporary noise waivers from Montgomery County related to the highly-controversial destruction of this historic bridge.

The first permit covers demolition noise and the installation of pilings at the bridge location. This work will begin in mid-June, and last for up to six months (yikes). Work hours will be 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM Monday-Friday, and "if necessary," from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Saturdays.

A second permit is related to the forming and construction of retaining walls. This work will commence in early July, and continue through the end of September. The hours of work for this aspect of the project will be Monday-Saturday, 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM, a clear expansion beyond the legal hours for such work.

Purple Line Transit Partners says the bridge could close on, or about, Monday, June 18, 2018.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Briggs Chaney-area woman missing

Montgomery County police are seeking the public's help in locating a woman missing from the Briggs Chaney area. Estela Maria De Los Fairbanks, 45, of Colgate Way was reported missing by her family. The circumstances surrounding her disappearance, such as when she was last seen, have not been released by detectives.

However, police say she is likely driving her silver, Hyundai Accent with Maryland tags: 3CZ5322. De Los Fairbanks is described as a Latina, 5′ 3″ and weighing about 180 pounds.  She has black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Estela Maria De Los Fairbanks or her vehicle is asked to call the Montgomery County Police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000 (available 24 hours). Callers may remain anonymous.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Teen charged as adult after bringing stolen gun to Paint Branch HS

Paint Branch High School suffered its second legitimate weapons scare in six days yesterday, when a 17-year-old illegally entered the school with a stolen .38 revolver. The teen was not a Paint Branch student, and the gun was loaded. Paint Branch's school resource officer was informed by school security that the stranger had just given them a false name and false student ID number. After providing the false information, the suspect then turned and fled the school building.

The SRO located a subject fitting the suspect's description walking on Briggs Chaney Road near the school. He attempted to flee from the officer when approached, but was successfully apprehended by the SRO. School security then confirmed the suspect was the person who had illegally entered the school.

Within the suspect's shoulder bag, the officer located the loaded .38, which detectives have since determined was stolen in Pennsylvania. 17-year-old Elijah C. Nyamekye of the 100 block of Wilton Oaks Drive in Silver Spring charged as an adult with possession of a handgun, possession of a firearm by a person under 21 years old, possession of a stolen handgun, trespassing on school property, and disrupting school activities.

Last Thursday, a Paint Branch student was arrested after bringing a pocket knife and handgun ammo to the school.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Car Wash Coffee targeting June opening in Kensington (Photos)

Car Wash Coffee has been in the works for a while at 10700 Connecticut Avenue in Kensington. Now, after more than a year, there is light at the end of the tunnel. A sign posted in the window is promising a June 2018 opening, and there's a lot of work going on inside.

I have a lot of nostalgia for this building as a Roy Rogers in decades past. I've always been perplexed as to why various fast food chains were never able to take the ball from Roy's, and run with it at this prime, "last gas" location. Thousands of people pass by here daily heading to or from the Beltway, and a drive-thru could have really cleaned up with megacash.
The establishment is owned by the owner of the adjacent Mr. Wash car wash, hence the name, and why you see the familiar and trusted Mr. Wash character cheerily raising a piping hot cup of coffee on one of the shop's Coming Soon banners. Prepare for a cup of coffee like you've never had before at Car Wash Coffee: they will be serving Vigilante Coffee. But wait, there's some breaking news, as well: they'll also be selling Gaithersburg's famous Neal's Bagels, authentic New York-style bagels.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Macdara's Bar and Grille to open in Wheaton this month

After a short reboot as Rock Creek Kitchen with southern cuisine, the Rock Creek dining experiment ended earlier this year at 2405 Price Avenue in Wheaton. Now a new owner is stepping in with another dining concept. Macdara MacTigue, owner of Harp & Fiddle in downtown Bethesda, says he plans to open Macdara's Bar and Grille this month in the building. The menu will be American, and they are currently hiring for all positions.

Daily Kos exposes MoCo "covert Republican/developer Council slate" in Democratic primary

A cabal of developers and Republicans is spending big to determine the winners of the Democratic primary election in Montgomery County on June 26, according to an investigation published by the Daily Kos. "There is a covert Republican/developer slate for Council," author Eric Hensal writes. He identifies the covert GOP/developer slate as Democrats Gabe Albornoz, Marilyn Balcombe, Evan Glass, Hans Riemer (in the At-Large race), Andrew Friedson (District 1), and Sidney Katz (District 3).

Hensal says these are the "candidates Republican/Developer donors in Montgomery County want elected in its Democratic primary." He also cites David Blair as the covert group's Democratic choice for County Executive, and says campaign donations show developers abandoning Blair's rival Roger Berliner for Blair and Rose Krasnow.

Hensal notes the covert financing effort is a change from 2002's overt developer effort that successfully elected the laughably-named "End Gridlock" slate to the Council. The "End Gridlock" slate infamously went on to double and triple the amount of traffic gridlock, by allowing unlimited development without providing the highway capacity needed to support it.

To reach his conclusions, Hensal examined patterns of donations, and connections among donors contributing to the same candidates. He determined that many of the donors who are supporting the covert slate are also donors to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Hensal also concluded that simply using public financing did not eliminate developer influence on candidates doing so - they still receive donations from developers, and can leverage those developer donations for more public money.

In identifying the covert slate of candidates, Hensal concludes that, "The most generous view is that these candidates are simply a consensus of the Republican/Developer community. However, an ongoing coordinated effort to elect them is very possible."

Friday, June 8, 2018

Paint Branch HS student arrested after bringing knife, ammo to school

A Paint Branch High School student was arrested at school Thursday morning, and charged with possession of a dangerous weapon on school property. Police responded to the school at 14121 Old Columbia Pike in Burtonsville at 8:34 AM yesterday morning, after school administrators reported finding the student with a pocket knife and six rounds of handgun ammunition in a plastic bag.

Officers searched the school and the student's home, and detectives concluded the 16-year-old had not been in possession of a firearm at the school, nor in his home. The student was released to his guardian, and the matter will be handled by the Department of Juvenile Services.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Wheaton man charged in 2 Wheaton bank robberies

Montgomery County detectives have charged Michael J. Suah, 22, of the 11100 block of Georgia Avenue in Wheaton in two robberies of the PNC Bank located inside of the Giant Food grocery store at 2900 University Boulevard West in Wheaton.  The first robbery occurred on November 14, 2017, and the second on April 13, 2018.

Suah was recognized on June 5 when he walked past an officer conducting a traffic stop in the 11200 block of Georgia Avenue in Wheaton, and he was arrested. Suah was transported to the Central Processing Unit, where he was charged with two counts of robbery and two counts of theft: $100 to under $1,500.  He was released after posting a $10,000 bond.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Credit cards pilfered from lockers at Gold's Gym in Olney

Montgomery County police report that at least two members of Gold's Gym in Olney had their credit cards stolen from their lockers while they worked out this spring. Cards were pilfered from lockers on March 29, 2018 and April 18, 2018, and detectives believe the same thief struck both times, and again at a Gold's Gym in Gaithersburg.

The suspect then used the cards at a Home Depot and a CVS pharmacy in Gaithersburg. He was caught on video surveillance in all three cases.

Do you recognize this suspect? If so, call the 4th District Patrol Investigations Unit at 240-773-5476 or call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).  Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward of up to $10,000 for information provided to them that leads to the arrest and/or indictment of this suspect. Tipsters will remain anonymous.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Will Montgomery County government adopt the Starbucks policy?

Montgomery County Planning Board chair
Casey Anderson surrounded by armed police
officers, called in as members of
Macedonia Baptist Church attempted to deliver
a petition during a peaceful protest last year
Montgomery County government has a Starbucks problem. County officials in the executive office, County Council, Planning Board and Housing Opportunities Commission have repeatedly called the police to confront black church leaders and protesters exercising their First Amendment rights in County government spaces. Now that the question of white people calling the police on black people has become a national hot topic, will Montgomery County government address one facet of its institutional racism by adopting the Starbucks policy of no longer calling the police?
Police confront Macedonia Baptist Church Pastor Segun Adebayo
and Social Justic Director Marsha Coleman-Adebayo at the
HOC in October 2017
Wait, did this really happen? Did white County officials really call the police on African-Americans who were simply exercising their First Amendment rights? Take a look for yourself in the following reports, for just a few of the instances:

Planning Board, February 2017

Office of the County Executive, April 2017

County Council office, May 2017

Housing Opportunities Commission, October 2017

As an activist in the County for over a decade, I have attended many public meetings and hearings, and the police were never summoned to confront or remove a white speaker or protester.

In "progressive" Montgomery County, the peaceful struggle over the Moses African Cemetery has proven to us "just how low the bar is for white Americans to sic law enforcement on black people," in the words of Mother Jones magazine. "Getting law enforcement involved is an extreme response that tends to escalate conflicts," Brandon E. Patterson wrote for the magazine in May. "For black people, that call to law enforcement can have dire consequences. That’s why it’s especially egregious when white people use 911 like a personal grievance hotline, summoning officers for something as minor as a black person arguing with restaurant staff—or because our behavior makes the caller uncomfortable, or because they think we might be up to no good."

Such frivolous calls to police are "rooted in an effort to preserve racial hierarchy by showing that black people can be removed at any time," Vox reported, quoting writer Tressie McMillan Cottom: “'At millions of places, in a billion different interactions across the country ... a white person is doing all the daily management of white spaces and places,' she wrote."

Callers may "feel that the police are there to work as their personal racism valets and remove black people from the situation," Morgan State University professor Jason Johnson told NPR last month.  "The role of the police is as law enforcement. They're supposed to be the last resort. You're supposed to ask questions, attempt to communicate and resolve things as a functional citizen. So of course, we shouldn't be calling the police on a regular basis."

Johnson, and others, have advocated the idea that callers in such cases should be fined. That may be called for, when our fabulously qualified and talented Democratic, "progressive" officials are unable to "communicate and resolve things as functional citizens."

Can we expect the County Council to adopt a Starbucks policy that County government should no longer call the police simply because African-Americans are peacefully protesting or attempting to deliver a petition? And one that would fine County officials who violate it? 

Don't bet on it. The Council has yet to even acknowledge or condemn the calls to law enforcement that came from their own, and multiple other, County government officials in the Moses African Cemetery controversy. They also have not criticized Anderson, or asked him to step down as chair of the Board.

Monday, June 4, 2018

11-year-old charged after allegedly threatening Parkland Middle School

Montgomery County police responded to Parkland Middle School at 4610 West Frankfort Drive Friday around 12:34 PM, after a school faculty member reported someone had called the school and made a "general threat" to Parkland students. Detectives investigating the incident determined the phone call had allegedly been made by an 11-year-old male who does not attend Parkland.

The juvenile was charged with one count of disrupting school activities and one count of making a threat of mass violence.  After being charged, the juvenile was released into the custody of his parents.  The case will be handled by the Department of Juvenile Services for adjudication.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Community meeting scheduled on Carroll Knolls Local Park renovations

A community meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 regarding the proposed renovation of Carroll Knolls Local Park in Silver Spring. The meeting will be held at the Capital View-Homewood Local Park Activity Building, located at 2929 Edgewood Road in Kensington from 7:00-9:00 PM.

There will be a presentation at the beginning of the meeting, and then an open discussion to get feedback from the community on the proposals presented. Carroll Knolls Local Park is located at 10500 Georgia Avenue.

Given that the park only opened four years ago, you might ask why it is already being renovated. What's happening is that Montgomery Parks is attempting to develop a long-range plan for additions to the park, when additional adjacent property is added to it via donation and acquisition of road right-of-ways. Potential additions to the park may include play equipment, a youth-sized rectangular sports field, sitting and picnic areas, community open space, wooded areas, natural surface trails, courts, and additional parking.  This is an excellent chance to weigh in on what you'd like to have added to your neighborhood park.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Wheaton redevelopment update (Photos)

Last week's monsoon conditions hit the Lot 13 construction site in Wheaton hard. Cleaning up was added to the voluminous list of other tasks at hand in recent days. The storms caused delays on the construction of the Montgomery County government office building's foundation, which has now resumed, according to County officials. Concrete pours for the foundation are now scheduled for next week, and the County says the rain delays will have no impact on the project's delivery schedule for summer 2020.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

White Oak Day this Saturday, June 2

The Montgomery County Department of Recreation is sponsoring White Oak Day with family activities and entertainment this Saturday, June 2, 2018 from 12-4 PM, at the White Oak Community Recreation Center at 1700 April Lane. Performers will include Halau Nohona Hawaii and Chinese Folk Dancers. Activities will include sports challenges and inflatables. There will also be plenty of food. And don't forget the prizes! The event is free; children under 11 must be accompanied by an adult.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Goodbye to Noodles and Company, hello to Paisano's in Silver Spring (Photos)

Noodles and Company has closed at 905 Ellsworth Place in downtown Silver Spring. As a pasta fanatic, I would think restaurants like this would do well. But the quality at this location was a frequent point of contention for diners who gave the establishment poor reviews. The chain is directing customers to its College Park location - apparently on the presumption that the under-construction Purple Line is already operating?

In a more positive development, Paisano's has finally opened over at 8213 Georgia Avenue. There's no such thing as too many pizza options, so this is a welcome addition to town.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Mandarin Chinese Restaurant reopens in Silver Spring (Photos+Menu)

Mandarin Chinese Restaurant at 8411 Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring reopened for business Saturday. To celebrate the Grand Opening, they are offering 10% off of both take-out and dine-in orders through this Saturday, June 2. The menu is diverse and large, for a rare Chinese restaurant where you can also order chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, or a slice of sweet potato pie. To place a take-out order, call 301-585-1282/1283.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Layhill teen missing

Gissell Alejandra Zavala, 17, who lives in the 14000 block of Cleese Court in the Layhill area, is missing. Zavala is described by Montgomery County police as a Latina, 5’ 2” tall, and weighing 150 pounds. She has black hair and brown eyes.  She has tattoos, including a tattoo on her left forearm.

Police and her family are concerned for Zavala’s physical and emotional welfare. Anyone who has information regarding the whereabouts of Gissell Alejandra Zavala is asked to call the Montgomery County Police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000 (24 hours).

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Islands Lounge finally moving forward in Wheaton

Islands Lounge, which had planned to open this spring in Wheaton, is finally moving forward. A renovation permit has been requested from Montgomery County for the old Ferdinand's space at 11300 Fern Street. The restaurant, bar and lounge will serve Caribbean cuisine.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Taste of Wheaton June 3, 2018

Taste of Wheaton returns Sunday, June 3, 2018, but in a new location. Construction of a new Montgomery County government office building has forced the event to relocate to Public Parking Lot 17 at 2320 Price Avenue. Taste of Wheaton will run from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the parking lot that day.

Sample the best of Wheaton's restaurants, a beer and wine garden and cooking demonstrations. Kids will enjoy numerous activities, including face painting, balloon sculptures and caricature drawings.

Live music performances will include:

11:30 a.m. The Scotch Bonnets (Reggae)
12:30 p.m. Wheaton Studio of Dance
1 p.m. Earth, Wind and Fire Tribute Band (R&B, Soul)
2 p.m. Urban Artistry
2:30 p.m. Rafael Ortiz & El Tumbao Urbano featuring Salseros
of the DMV /Karen Aguilar (Latin)
3:30 p.m. Ameanspinn

4 p.m. Nightlife (Top 40, Pop)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

El Sapo restaurant coming to Central in Silver Spring

The first details on the new venture by Urban Butcher owner Raynold Mendizabal are emerging. El Sapo, a restaurant offering the cuisine of the Spanish Caribbean, will open in the ground floor of the Central development at 8455 Fenton Street in Silver Spring. The 3600 SF space will seat around 145 people, and serve lunch and dinner.

There will also be outdoor patio seating available. El Sapo is aiming for a July opening. Fitness studio Orange Theory opened in the building last week. The new Mendizabal restaurant is eagerly awaited, after his popular Urban Butcher was recognized as serving "the best beef tenderloin in the D.C. area," among other plaudits.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Credit cards stolen and used in Woodside home burglary in Silver Spring

Credit cards were stolen during the burglary of a home in the Woodside area of Silver Spring, and the alleged burglars later used the cards in purchases in Silver Spring and Wheaton. Montgomery County police say they responded to a call from a home in the 1700 block of East-West Highway at 9:44 AM on Saturday, May 12. They determined that someone had entered the home earlier that morning through a rear door - while the occupants were at home.

Police say credit cards were among the items stolen, and that they were later used by two men at the 7-Eleven at 8455 Colesville Road, at H&M in downtown Silver Spring, and at Champs Sports at Wheaton Plaza. The last transaction was unsuccessful.

Anyone who recognizes this suspect or has information about this burglary is asked to contact the 2nd District Investigative Section at 240-773-6710.  To be eligible for a reward, tipsters may call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or enter a tip online. Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward of up to $10,000 for information provided to them that leads to an arrest and/or indictment of the suspects.  Tipsters will remain anonymous.