Friday, August 30, 2019

Renovation planned for downtown Silver Spring Safeway

The Safeway store at 909 Thayer Avenue in downtown Silver Spring is starting to show its age. But not for long. Safeway is planning a $100,000 renovation of the store, to update both the exterior and interior. They're also going to renovate the parking deck.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Purple Line construction ramps up at Silver Spring Metro station (Video+Photos)

Construction operations for the future Purple Line light rail are ramping up by the Silver Spring Transit Center. Heavy equipment is already in place on the plaza that, like the transit center, was once set aside for the unbuilt North-Central Freeway through downtown Silver Spring.

Crews will be working on the plaza adjacent to the transit center seven nights a week during the month of September. Work hours are 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Salon Zoma opening new location in downtown Silver Spring

Salon Zoma is opening a new location in The Bonifant at 929 Bonifant Street in downtown Silver Spring. This is right by the Silver Spring Library, and on the route of the future Purple Line. The Aveda concept hair salon currently operates a Silver Spring location at 8029 Georgia Avenue.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Why has the AFI Silver Theatre marquee gone dark?

Anyone passing by the historic AFI Silver Theatre the past couple of weeks has probably noticed its landmark marquee has gone dark. The movie theater says the scrolling marquee stopped working, and is in need of repair. It should be running again "soon." Which is good news, because it just doesn't seem like downtown Silver Spring without the AFI Silver marquee telling us about all of the coming attractions.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Washington Gas project to affect several streets in Calverton next month

Washington Gas will begin a gas main and lines replacement project in Beltsville next month. Because the project location is right on the Montgomery-Prince George's County line, a few streets in the Calverton area of Montgomery County will be impacted.

The affected streets will be Calverton Boulevard, 2942-3018 Craiglawn Road, 2900-2933 Chapel View Drive, and all of Chapel View Court. Gas should be off no longer than one day for any individual customer, the utility says, and you will receive advance notice of any such service interruptions.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Grandview Avenue to close Saturday in Wheaton

Grandview Avenue will be closed to traffic tomorrow, Saturday, August 24, 2019 from 4:00 AM to 6:00 PM in Wheaton. The closure is due to the scheduled removal of a tower crane from the Lot 13 construction site, Montgomery County officials said. A mobile crane will be brought in to assist with removing the individual pieces of the tower crane.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Boardwalk T-shirts, Fresh Crush close at Wheaton Plaza

Boardwalk T-shirts, and Fresh Crush have closed at Wheaton Plaza. Both the shirt store and food court kiosk have been cleared out.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Earthbound Trading Co. opens at Wheaton Plaza

Earthbound Trading Co. has opened at Wheaton Plaza. The retailer carries "an eclectic assortment of products at great prices in an environment that creates a sense of adventure and variety for our customers," according to the Arundel Mills mall's description.
Products include apparel, "aroma" and spa accessories, tapestries, and even crystals that promise to "strengthen your intentions and keep your spirit on its intended path," the company says. Find them on Level 2 by Foot Locker, in the J.C. Penney wing.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Las Americas Supermarket opening in Wheaton

Las Americas Supermarket is coming to Wheaton. The grocery store will be opening at 2404 University Boulevard W., previously home to BeClaws. Las Americas is already moving in, and it's interesting to see how they are converting the restaurant space into a supermarket configuration.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Takoma Park mayor weighs in on proposed ICE facility

Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart has released a letter supporting efforts by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Councilman Brandon Todd to prevent the opening of a new ICE detention facility for minors near the D.C. border with the City of Takoma Park. The proposed facility would house several hundred unaccompanied minors detained at the U.S. border at 6896 Laurel Street, N.W.

"The property at 6896 Laurel Street NW is in no way adequate to house 200 children," Stewart wrote in her letter to Bowser and Todd. "Moreover, the center would be run by a company with no experience running facilities for children." The Takoma Park mayor added that the proximity of the facility could increase the number of ICE agents operating in the area, which she said "will create tremendous fear among our residents, regardless of their immigration status."
Building at 6896 Laurel Street, N.W.
proposed for use as ICE detention facility
Stewart underlined Takoma Park's status as a "sanctuary city," and lambasted the Trump administration's handling of illegal immigrants and unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. border as "appalling" and "sickening."

A contract with Dynamic Services Solutions in Prince George's County to operate the shelter has already been signed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. DHHS has said the contractor and facility will adequately meet all needs of minors detained there.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Impossible Whopper review

The Impossible Whopper at Burger King is the first nationwide release of a plant-based burger at a quick-service chain with locations in every region of the country, and has generated tremendous interest from beef and non-meat eaters alike. It is flame-grilled on the same equipment as the beef burgers at Burger King, as noted on the chain's website. The Impossible Whopper is not necessarily more healthy than the all-beef Original Whopper, and with the Whopper being my favorite burger, I certainly approached the sandwich with high expectations - and a high price, more than a beef Whopper at over $7.00 here in Montgomery County.
 Out of the wrapper, the overall sandwich looks like a Whopper at first glance - it has all the same toppings, and comes without cheese unless requested for an extra fee like the Original Whopper. The toppings were colorful, fresh and high-quality as they are on the beef Whopper, as well. It appears the Impossible Whopper patty is the same circumference and width as the classic Whopper.
Once the top bun is removed, however, the illusion falters. The Impossible patty is perfectly circular, and perfectly flat, unlike a hand-formed beef burger's irregular surface and edge. While sporting the identical flame-broiled grill marks as the famous Whopper, the patty does not match the beef Whopper in color - it leans toward brown more than grey. It looks like a mechanically-sliced patty from a machine-formed loaf.
The Impossible Whopper has the flame-grilled aroma of a Whopper, but does not replicate the beef aroma. Biting into the Impossible Whopper, one finds the texture is similar to ground beef in chewiness, but not in overall texture. The patty material is packed differently from a beef patty. There is no juiciness, making it a drier burger than a real beef Whopper.
Flavorwise, the Impossible Whopper has even-stronger flame-grilled taste - it's almost too much, and appears to be perhaps intentionally so to mask the lack of real beef flavor. A beef Whopper has a more balanced beef-smoke ratio, and tastes like a burger you made on a backyard grill. The Impossible Whopper tastes as if additional smoke flavor has been added beyond what the flame-broiling process alone bestows.

My final verdict? The Impossible Whopper seems to have overwhelmed hipsters in the mainstream press. The Washington Post declared it indistinguishable from a regular beef Whopper. They need to get out more often. I know the Whopper, I love the Whopper, and I would not be fooled in the least in a blind taste test that I was eating a beef Whopper with the Impossible Whopper. Perhaps you could fool the average person that they were eating a cafeteria hamburger, but that's as far as you could dupe most people - on a good day.

The Impossible Whopper is an event. You really should try one yourself. It may be a luxury item compared to what it forced on the American people down the road. And if you either simply want a non-meat alternative on the menu, or you love the Whopper but for whatever reason are no longer able to eat beef, this could be a great choice for you.

But if you're an extreme Whopper fan like me, you'll likely find it fails to recreate the magic of Burger King's signature burger. I'd recommend running out now and getting a fresh, juicy Original all-beef Whopper, which I rate six out of five stars (not a misprint). As far as the Impossible Whopper, I will give it a "good" three stars out of five - it delivers the alternative some diners very much want, but can't fool true Whopper fans enough to earn five stars.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Silver Spring 7-Eleven bust turns up stolen car, guns, drugs

Montgomery County police officers at the 7-Eleven at 7980 Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring observed a man and woman "rummaging through" a car in the parking lot. After running the tag number and registration, they determined the vehicle had been stolen from Franklin County, Virginia. The driver presented a fake driver's license to police. After calling in backup, police arrested Kevin Salisbury, 33, and Courtney Rucker, 28, both of Fairfax, Virginia, and charged them with crimes to include vehicle theft, firearm-related offenses, and possession of controlled dangerous substances (methamphetamine and heroin).
In addition to the meth and heroin, officers searching the vehicle recovered a loaded revolver, a rifle, a shotgun, and ammunition. They also found drug paraphernalia.

Salisbury and Rucker are being held in the County jail without bond.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Police think same man burglarized Bethesda, Silver Spring businesses

Montgomery County police detectives believe the same suspect may have burglarized businesses in downtown Bethesda and Silver Spring. They have released new surveillance footage that appears to show the same man, who pried open the door at each business.

The suspect allegedly struck first at Penney Group Design at 8120 Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda on May 24 at 4:15 PM, taking two laptops and fleeing on a bicycle parked out in front of the building. He allegedly then burglarized the Q Lux Spa at 1111 Spring Street in Silver Spring on July 25 at 5:21 PM, stealing cash from the business.

Anyone with information regarding these burglaries or the suspect involved is asked to call the 3rd District Investigative Section at 240-773-6870. 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.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

HSBC Bank posts coming soon signage in Silver Spring

HSBC has posted "coming soon" signage for its new bank branch at 8250 Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring, which promises it will be opening "soon." The bank will be in the ground floor of the Solaire 8250 Georgia Avenue apartment tower. You have to give HSBC credit for not spending a dime more than they have to on the size of their signs - that is one small sign.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Free pizza at Fat Fingers grand opening August 19 in Silver Spring

Enjoy a free slice of cheese pizza at Fat Fingers' grand opening on Monday, August 19, 2019 in Silver Spring. You may have already dined there over several weeks of soft opening hours, but don't miss out on your free slice next Monday between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Fat Fingers is located at 8213 Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring.

Friday, August 9, 2019

MoCo to pay $26,400 annual rent for Brookeville communications tower

Montgomery County is preparing to enter into a five-year lease of property at 4301 Brookeville Road in Brookeville for the purpose of erecting a new public safety radio system communications tower and related equipment. According to a County document, the County will pay $26,400 in annual rent to the property's owner, The Jane C. Nash Trust.
The tower is part of a public safety communications system upgrade that the County Council has recklessly put off for over a decade. Several of the towers, especially those proposed for Potomac and Olney, have encountered strong objections from residents, in particular because the Council's 11th hour 180 to finally fund the upgrade left little time for a full public process and discussion.

Tower renderings via Montgomery County Government

Wheaton Plaza Wendy's to host grand-reopening celebration, Carter's hiring

You could win free Wendy's burgers for a year at their Wheaton Plaza location at 11030 Veirs Mill Road tomorrow, August 10, 2019. Just be one of the first 100 people in line to make a purchase when they open at 10:00 AM to be eligible for a chance to win. The giveaway is part of tomorrow's official celebration of the restaurant's grand-reopening after renovations to update its design.
Also at Wheaton Plaza: future tenant Carter's is now hiring employees. Carter's/OshKosh B'gosh will be located on Level 2 by Lids and Macy's when they open this fall.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Silver Spring construction update: Fenton Silver Spring Apartments (Photos)

The Fenton Silver Spring Apartments, located at 8240 Fenton Street in downtown Silver Spring, are now scheduled to begin pre-leasing late this summer. One and two-bedroom units will start in the $1600s.
I like the slogan that plays up the Fenton Street branding, and love the midcentury-modern look to parts of the lobby (at least in the renderings on the website). Outside, the aesthetic is still stack-and-pack at this stage of construction. We'll have to see what the final facade treatments look like by completion. A furnished model unit can be seen on one of the lower floors.