Thursday, August 31, 2017

Gun-wielding man arrested after allegedly pointing it at police in Fairland (Photo)

David Leroy Bruce
A Fairland resident was arrested Tuesday, after he allegedly pointed his handgun at officers responding to a call about noise in his apartment. Officers were dispatched at 8:13 PM to the apartment of David Leroy Bruce in the 3300 block of Parkford Manor Terrace in Silver Spring. Hearing a TV blaring from Bruce's apartment, the officers tried to verbally contact him through his open balcony door.

Receiving no answer, three uniformed officers then knocked on the apartment's front door and announced their presence. As the door slowly opened, Bruce allegedly pointed a .32 caliber handgun at the officers from behind the door.

After officers took cover, they ordered Bruce to drop the weapon. Bruce allegedly went out onto his balcony, still wielding the gun, as officers asked him for several more minutes to drop it. He eventually complied, police say, and was taken into custody after walking out of the apartment without the gun.

Detectives found additional firearms in the apartment, and noted that their approach would have been visible on a surveillance camera system the suspect had installed in the unit.

Bruce, 59, was charged with one count of first-degree assault, three counts of reckless endangerment, and one count of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony/violent crime. Bond information is not yet available.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Residents concerned about delays, transparency on Wheaton Library/Rec Center construction

Construction of the future Wheaton Library and Recreation Center is severely behind schedule, causing concern among residents and patrons that this could become another Silver Spring Transit Center debacle. Further frustrating those following the construction process are conflicting responses from various Montgomery County offices, and a lack of complete responses, to several Maryland Public Information Act requests.

The replacement library was originally scheduled for delivery in Summer 2018. In May 2017, County Department of General Services Deputy Director Greg Ossont stated the project was at that point "about 30 months out" from delivery. That would mean a November 2019 delivery. But in an August 22 email response to a resident MPIA request, DGS Director David Dise promised "all work will be completed in spring 2019," a full 6 months less than his deputy stated. The library would then open in Summer 2019, Dise wrote, making it a year behind schedule.

Residents have also been less than satisfied with their ability to participate in the planning and construction of the building to the degree they expected throughout the life of the project. One of the recent points of contention has been the long-expected public feedback on furniture for the new building.

In his August 22 response to a resident MPIA, Dise wrote, "Public input will soon be sought in selection of some library furniture. DGS will be placing furniture samples and fabrics in the Interim Wheaton Library this fall to solicit public feedback via an online Survey Monkey. Your feedback will help inform us in the selection of library furniture."

But in a July 18 response to an MPIA request from Kimblyn Persaud, President of the Wheaton Regional Park Neighborhood Association, Dise had written that the sample furniture would be displayed this summer, and the County would "carry it through the rest of the year." Feedback gathered from patrons and online forms would be compiled into a report, Dise said, which would "help inform decisions made by County staff" in selecting furniture.

There were even conflicting messages from DGS and the County's Department of Public Libraries as to whether furniture would be tested in Wheaton, or if residents would instead be forced to trek to Rockville.

Yet, according to Jeffrey Bourne, Chief of the Division of Facilities & Capital Programs at the Montgomery County Recreation Department, in a mid-June email to Persaud, "The furnishings, fixtures, & equipment for the building were selected as a part of the design process and reflected on the furniture layout drawings. We already know what these tables & chairs will be and how many but have not ordered anything as yet." A January 2017 on-site meeting at an Owings Mills furniture showroom involving up to 8 or more County employees was held, but no minutes were taken at the meeting, Bourne wrote.

Beyond the conflicting responses on when furniture will be tested, and whether or not the public input is actually going to determine which furniture is purchased, residents have not received legal and complete responses to some of their MPIA requests. For example, in her July MPIA request in regard to furniture selection, Persaud specifically requested "a copy of all documents pertaining to how you are collecting and measuring the pilot test data (survey, phone interview, in person interview), will you be using a 3rd party to collect, analyze and report out results?  If yes, who have you contracted out to do this?  If not, what research methodology will you be using?  How many unique participants are you testing across categories (patrons, staff, DGS)? And will you be getting a cross sample of respondents by age, gender, income, where they live, other demographic categories? When will data collection begin and what is the duration? Will the public be notified of the opportunity to participate in this process?"

But, instead of supplying the copies of the actual documents requested, Dise wrote his own response. According to the MPIA, new documents cannot be created in lieu of providing the documents requested.  MPIAs have been problematic from the beginning of the project, with Persaud infamously being charged a ridiculous $58,407 by the County for a 2015 document request.      

Library projects in general seem to be a weak spot for the County at the moment. In addition to the Wheaton Library being far behind schedule, "refreshes" of the Little Falls and Davis libraries took many months longer than forecast. Mysteriously, both the Little Falls and Twinbrook libraries developed major plumbing problems during or after their renovations. A resulting flood caused major damage at Little Falls. And after spending $1 million, and closing the Twinbrook Library for six months, the County will close it again from September 2-6 to repair the aforementioned major plumbing problems.                                                              

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Olney Dunkin' Donuts to host community celebration September 16

Save the date: The Dunkin' Donuts at Olney Village Shopping Center will host a free Community Celebration on Saturday, September 16, 2017, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. It will feature fun for the whole family, including face painting, music, a raffle, games, a moonbounce, and a visit from a local fire department.

Dunkin' Donuts is located at 18100 Village Mart Drive.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sherwin-Williams stocking for opening in Silver Spring (Photos)

They're stocking the shelves at the new Sherwin-Williams Paints store at 8230 Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring. Some shelves are empty, and there are bare spots here and there on others, yet the "Open" sign was lit yesterday.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Midcounty Regional Services Center in Wheaton to close permanently August 31

The Midcounty Regional Services Center building at 2424 Reedie Drive in Wheaton will close permanently on Thursday, August 31. To clear the way for the new Montgomery County office building and town square, the building will be demolished beginning in early October.

Until the new County building is completed in the Spring of 2020, the MRSC offices will relocate temporarily to 11435 Grandview Avenue, in the former fire station. The County has not yet announced where the two advisory boards that currently meet at the building will relocate to, so stay tuned.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Police release video of armed robbery at The Medicine Shoppe in Silver Spring

Montgomery County police have released surveillance video of the August 13 armed robbery of The Medicine Shoppe at 12838 New Hampshire Avenue, in the Colesville area of Silver Spring, in hopes the public can identify the perpetrators. The robbery took place around 1:03 PM.

Clad in dark outfits and masks, and brandishing a handgun, the suspects vaulted the pharmacy counter and demanded prescription narcotics. Obtaining an assortment of drugs from a pharmacy clerk, the suspects fled the store on foot southbound on New Hampshire.

Anyone with information regarding the suspects or this armed robbery is asked to call the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5100.  Those who wish to remain anonymous may 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 an arrest in this case.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Burtonsville shooting investigated

A shooting occurred Monday afternoon in Burtonsville, and Montgomery County police detectives are investigating what happened. Officers first responded to an assault call at the intersection of Cedar Tree Drive and Red Maple Court around 2:53 PM. They found no one there, but noted there was evidence of a shooting at the scene. At 3:22 PM, a shooting victim was dropped off at an unnamed hospital for treatment of a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.

Meanwhile, as officers continued to investigate at the shooting scene, a black 2012 Acura MDX approached. Upon seeing the officers, the driver sped away. When they ran the license plate, officers found the car had been stolen August 13, from the 14400 block of Stepping Stone Way in Burtonsville.

Police located the stolen Acura at 4:24 PM on Riding Stable Road. An officer at that time noticed a juvenile who matched the description of the driver of the Acura in the woods behind the 6100 block of Brooklyn Bridge Road. The juvenile was arrested and charged in the theft of the Acura, but detectives ultimately determined he had nothing to do with the shooting incident.

Therefore, the shooter remains at large. Police have not said yet if the shooting was an isolated incident related to a personal dispute, or if the victim was simply a random target.

Anyone with information regarding this shooting is urged to call the 3rd District Investigative Section at 240-773-6870.  For those who wish to remain anonymous, tipsters may 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, August 22, 2017

Fairland McDonald's to get makeover

The McDonald's at Briggs Chaney Market Place is going to get an update. Located at 13800 Outlet Drive in the Fairland area of Silver Spring, the busy restaurant will make over $600,000 worth of interior changes in the coming months.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Wheaton redevelopment update

Worker installing geothermal tubing
at Lot 13 on Friday
The early work on the future Montgomery County office building and town square on Lot 13 near the Wheaton Metro station continues. 112 of the 150 geothermal boreholes are now dug, which will play a role in powering the building. Contractor Allied Drilling has a special crew on-site now to install geothermal U-bends, and grouting already-drilled wells.

16 deep water wells were completed last week; they will help keep groundwater away from the foundation site until the concrete can be successfully poured.

Ahead of the expected start of excavation in September, the equipment and materials for a Support of Excavation System are expected to arrive at the site this week. Two large drill rigs will drill down and place 75'-long piles around the perimeter of the site. Three weeks from now, they expect to have installed 126 of these steel piles.

In yet another deep drilling operation, 7 inclinometer stations will be installed around the site. These stations will monitor subsurface movements, and the stability of slopes and embankments for collapse. You will see these around the site as small manholes in the ground, but they are very important for safety purposes.

Friday, August 18, 2017

New car wash for New Hampshire Avenue in Silver Spring

A new car wash is coming to the Spencerville/Cloverly area of Silver Spring after a two-year delay. The 912 SF car wash structure will be built on the site of an abandoned gas station at 16201 New Hampshire Avenue, where it meets Norbeck Road and Spencerville Road. It will be a fully-automatic car wash.

The 2015 plan also includes a 10-pump gas station, and a convenience store. Nearby communities include Hampshire Greens. A new left-turn lane was to be constructed on southbound New Hampshire Avenue, to facilitate access to the station.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tower crane installed at Solaire 8250 Georgia Avenue (Photos)

The tower crane has been assembled at the construction site of Washington Property Company's future Solaire 8250 Georgia Avenue project. The building will be the company's second in Silver Spring's Ripley District, and its fourth Solaire-branded property in the area.

With a height of 20 stories, the Solaire 8250 will hold 338 apartments and 15000 SF of retail space, including outdoor seating for dining. Parking will be located in a three-level undergound garage. Amenities will include a resort-style rooftop swimming pool and deck, cyber cafe, private courtyard, fitness center, and a club room complete with kitchen, library, flatscreen TV, fireplace and game room. Apartments will be a mix of studios and 1-and-2 bedroom units, with quartz countertops and

Lendlease is the contractor for the project, Design Collective of Baltimore is the architecture firm, and leasing of the street-level retail and restaurant space will be handled by Streetsense. Delivery is expected in Spring 2019.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wheaton construction update: AVA Wheaton apartments (Photos)

The AVA Wheaton apartments are on the verge of delivery at the corner of Georgia and Blueridge Avenues in Wheaton. A sign at the busy corner displays just how close you are to various amenities and Metro from this location. The location of the lobby entrance and grade of the building going downhill are somewhat reminiscent of the office building this project replaced, for old timers with any nostalgia.

Developed by Avalon Bay, AVA Wheaton holds 322 units and on-site parking. There is no retail or restaurant space. You'll notice Avalon Bay has also installed some fancy new streetlamps on their side of Blueridge.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Future Olney IHOP likely going into Cheeburger Cheeburger space

The mystery of which space in Olney Village Center will become the future IHOP restaurant appears to be solved. Several sources have told me that Cheeburger Cheeburger will close there at the end of this month. They reportedly have sent an announcement of the closing plans to those on their mailing list.

Aspen Hill man missing (Photo)

Montgomery County police are asking the public's help in located a missing Aspen Hill man. Aaron Lee Jaller, 23, left his home in the 4800 block of Rim Rock Road yesterday, August 14, around 12:30 PM. He has not been seen since.

Police describe Jaller as an Asian male, about 5’7″ tall and weighing approximately 120 pounds. He was wearing jeans and a blue shirt, and carrying a black backpack.

Police and Jaller's family are concerned for his physical and emotional welfare, as he is without his needed medication.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Aaron Jaller is asked to call the 24-hour police non-emergency line at 301-279-8000.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Silver Spring construction update: Aldi (Photos)

The Montgomery County grocery showdown of the century is coming to Montgomery Hills. German grocery chain Aldi is currently converting the Staples at 9440 Georgia Avenue into a gleaming new Aldi store. Meanwhile, community favorite Snider's Super Foods is right across Seminary Road from the future Aldi.

In theory, there should be room for both stores to coexist. While the American consumer is often depicted as placing price above all factors, Aldi by nature stocks far less product than you find in the typical Giant or Safeway. So even some basic items will still only be available at Snider's, while the venerable store will also retain the advantage of its many specialty items. Snider's also carries several private brands of its own.

Aldi is currently hiring; there are application forms and a box to deposit them in at the construction site.