Friday, July 31, 2020

Indecent exposure in Wheaton, Fairland

Two indecent exposure cases were reported to Montgomery County police in east Montgomery County on Tuesday. The first occurred in a commercial parking lot in the 12200 block of Veirs Mill Road in Wheaton around 1:22 PM. A second indecent exposure incident was reported at a "department/discount store" in the 13800 block of Outlet Drive in Fairland earlier that morning, around 4:52 AM. County police made two arrests for indecent exposure that day, according to arrest records.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Popeyes to open Briggs Chaney location in Silver Spring

Popeyes is coming to the Briggs Chaney area of Silver Spring. The cajun fried chicken chain will soon begin demolition of an existing building at 13890 Old Columbia Pike, and construction of a new, stand-alone Popeyes restaurant. It will be at the intersection of Old Columbia Pike and Briggs Chaney Road.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Salt and Vine construction to begin soon in Olney

The new owners of the historic Ricciutis Kitchen/Olney House building at 3308 Olney-Sandy Spring Road in Olney are preparing to begin alterations on the property. They plan to reopen the business as Salt and Vine. 

Those plans were in the works prior to the coronavirus lockdown this spring, when Ricciutis closed in February. The pandemic, and the need to clear the proposed changes with Montgomery County historic preservation officials, delayed the debut of Salt and Vine that was expected by the start of summer.

In addition to exterior alterations, the owners plan a two-story addition to the building. The Salt and Vine menu will be centered around farm-to-table ingredients, brick oven pizza, and "loads of cool wines," promises ownership partner Thomas Zippelli.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Colesville gas station for sale

You could be the owner of the "last gas" before the ICC coming out of downtown Silver Spring. All you have to do is buy this gas station at 13455 New Hampshire Avenue in Colesville. Currently leased to Giant through 2025, the station is also just north of the busy New Hampshire-Randolph Road intersection, on a major east-west route. The asking price is $2,820,000, according to the online sales listing.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Armed robbery in Takoma Park

An armed robbery was reported to the Takoma Park Police Department yesterday afternoon. The robbery took place in the 7700 block of Greenwood Avenue around 3:30 PM. According to crime data, the weapon used in the robbery was a gun.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Car stolen in downtown Silver Spring

A car was stolen in downtown Silver Spring on Tuesday. The vehicle was reported taken from a commercial parking lot in the 1300 block of East-West Highway around 6:42 PM.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Boston Market has closed in White Oak

Boston Market has permanently closed in the White Oak Shopping Center at 11297 New Hampshire Avenue. The restaurant had been temporarily closed due to the coronavirus lockdown, but now signage is being removed. I've always thought this restaurant has the grandest dining views in White Oak, of the landmark high-rise apartments across the street.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Einstein coach, others speak out on MCPS cancelling fall, winter sports

Montgomery County Public Schools announced Tuesday that all sports for fall and winter have been cancelled, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement was one line in a larger announcement that no on-site instruction will take place in MCPS for the fall semester. Many coaches and athletes' reactions ranged from resigned disappointment to devastation and anger.

One common theme among those opposed to cancelling sports was to question why fall and winter sports could not be either postponed or rescheduled for a different part of the school year, rather than have a lost season. Randy Thompson, head coach for the Richard Montgomery High School varsity football team, summed up these matters - and the short-shrift the sports decision was given in the MCPS statement - in one tweet.

"The announcement from MCPS to cancel fall and winter sports instead of to postpone and reevaluate, seems unjust to our student athletes, certainly given the fashion in which it passed over in a single sentence," Thompson tweeted. "Why not [reevaluate] 1 month from now, two months from now?," tweeted Quince Orchard High School head football coach John Kelley.

An online petition has been started to play fall and winter sports in the spring. At the same time, some MCPS parents expressed relief at the announcement, believing that having students gathering for practices and games would have put the larger community at risk for Covid-19 transmission.

Thompson, Albert Einstein High School football defensive coordinator Joe Bruneel, and other MCPS coaches vowed to do what they could to salvage some benefit for their student athletes this coming school year. Bruneel proposed football coaches across the system organize for a spring football season. Thompson said he would try to get his players on film to showcase their talents for colleges.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Hit and run in South Four Corners

A hit-and-run accident was reported to Montgomery County police in the South Four Corners area of Silver Spring this past Friday night. At least one vehicle was struck in the 10100 block of Kinross Avenue around 11:37 PM, according to crime data. There is no word if anyone was injured, but the driver of the striking vehicle fled the scene.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Nava Thai building for sale or lease in Wheaton

The building that currently houses Nava Thai is available for lease or to buy, according to an online real estate listing. Under current zoning, the property is eligible for mixed-use redevelopment. It is half-a-block from the Wheaton Metro station according to the listing (but about a block-and-a-half by my calculation as a Wheaton pedestrian). The listing declares the building is available "Now."

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Juicy Seafood to open at Plaza del Mercado

Juicy Seafood is coming to the Plaza del Mercado shopping center at 2259 Bel Pre Road in the Aspen Hill/Layhill area of Silver Spring. Their opening date will be Monday, August 3, 2020. The Cajun seafood restaurant specializes in fried and boiled dishes, as well as chicken, sausage, pasta and appetizers. They'll have a full bar serving beer, wine and cocktails, and - perhaps most importantly at this time - have a nice outdoor patio space, as well.

“We have lived in Silver Spring for more than 10 years and noticed that there aren't any Cajun-style seafood restaurants in the area,” Aaron Liu of Juicy Seafood said Wednesday. “We have partnerships with Juicy Seafood restaurants in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri and it is a pleasure to bring Juicy Seafood to our own backyard at Plaza Del Mercado.” It's great to see this classic shopping center continue to thrive with quality tenants.

Photo by Debbi Mayster

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

ICE arrests alleged sex offender Montgomery County released

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says it has located and arrested an alleged child sex offender whom Montgomery County released from custody. Rene Atilio Ramos-Hernandez, 56, has been accused of repeated sexual abuse of a child. ICE had lodged a detainer with Montgomery County, asking that Ramos-Hernandez be held upon his release from jail so that ICE agents could take him into custody for deportation. County officials did not hold him, and he was released into the community, where he remained at-large for several weeks.

ICE agents located Ramos-Hernandez at his workplace in the District, and took him into custody, the agency said in a statement Tuesday. “Our fugitive operations team safely carried out this arrest in the community, but this required additional time and resources when he could have safely been transferred to ICE custody within the secure confines of the Montgomery County Detention Center,” acting Baltimore Field Office Director Francisco Madrigal said.

In their statement, ICE notes that Ramos-Hernandez also has convictions for driving while intoxicated and driving on a suspended license in Fairfax County, and for driving while intoxicated in Montgomery County, Maryland. The agency says he will remain in ICE custody until an immigration judge issues a final order of deportation for him.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Car stolen from Silver Spring gas station

A car was reported stolen from a gas station in Silver Spring early Monday morning. The vehicle was taken from a service station in the 12200 block of Veirs Mill Road around 4:26 AM, according to crime data.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Not Your Average Joe's has closed in Silver Spring

The Silver Spring location of Not Your Average Joe's has closed at Ellsworth Place mall. There were high expectations for the restaurant, which had a prime spot in the fully-renovated retail center, and steps away from the high-traffic Fillmore Silver Spring concert venue. Alas, with no concerts, there are no concertgoers to entice over to NYAJ's, which opened at the mall in 2016.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Montgomery County GOP chairman resigns

Alexander Bush
The chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party has resigned. In a resignation letter to members of the County Republican Central Committee, Alexander Bush, a trial attorney, said that the impact of the pandemic on his practice has placed new limitations on the time he can dedicate to running the party.

Bush will remain a member of the central committee, however. Vice-Chair Dennis Melby will serve as the interim chairman, until a new chair can be elected. Melby has worked at the American Enterprise Institute and Congressional Budget Office, and was elected four times to the Village of Friendship Heights' Village Council.

Photo via Montgomery County GOP

Thursday, July 9, 2020

3rd carjacking in downtown Silver Spring in 2 weeks

The third carjacking in downtown Silver Spring in the last two weeks happened early yesterday morning, July 8 at 2:53 AM. Police responded to an armed carjacking at a gas station in the 7900 block of Georgia Avenue. A 7-Eleven is only gas station on that block by my recollection. The previous carjackings occurred on June 28 (in the afternoon, no less) and July 1.

In two of the three carjackings, including the latest one, the robber brandished a gun. This is a troubling crime trend, to say the least.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Montgomery County criticized for releasing man who allegedly sexually abused child

A man arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a child on June 18 was released from jail by the Montgomery County Department of Corrections on June 23. In the meantime, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers had lodged a detainer request for Rene Atilio Ramos-Hernandez, 56.

ICE officials complain that Montgomery County did not honor the detainer request. They say the County called them at moment they were releasing Ramos-Hernandez, and refused to hold him for the time it would take ERO officers to travel to the jail.

“Montgomery County continues the practice of not honoring lawful ICE detainers and release potential public safety threats back into the community,” acting ICE Baltimore Field Office Director Francisco Madrigal said in a statement. “When they refuse to give adequate notification of an impending release to allow a safe transfer of custody, it shows their actions are insincere. ICE believes the best way to protect public safety is for law enforcement to work together.”

Officials in Montgomery County and other jurisdictions that refuse to comply with ICE requests have said detainers are not arrest warrants. They argue that the County could be sued for illegally holding a prisoner after his or her release. ICE reports that Ramos-Hernandez is in the country illegally, and remains at large.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Cabana Hookah Lounge, Palisades Lounge shut down by Montgomery County

UPDATE - July 8, 2020 10:23 AM: Montgomery County has now acknowledged that it released false information when it incorrectly stated it had "closed" Vibes Hookah Lounge. As noted in my previous update, the business remains fully open for retail sales, takeout and outdoor patio hookah.

UPDATE - 3:44 PM: The owner of Vibes Hookah Lounge disputes Montgomery County's claim that the business was "closed" by the County. He says Vibes remains open for retail sales, takeout service, and outdoor hookah, and that the County inspector ordered that indoor hookah not be allowed during Phase 2 of reopening

Montgomery County inspectors have taken enforcement action against several businesses they say have not complied with Phase 2 reopening guidelines and social distancing requirements. Vibes Hookah Lounge at 1 Dawson Avenue in Rockville was closed down by County inspectors because hookah lounges are not currently allowed to operate under Phase 2 rules.
Cabana Hookah Lounge in Silver Spring was shut down by the County for the same reason, County officials said Monday. Additionally, the County forced the Palisades Lounge in downtown Silver Spring to close because social distancing was not being enforced, and for a liquor law violation, officials alleged.

The Grille at Flower Hill in Gaithersburg came onto County officials' radar after the owner vowed on social media not to follow the County requirement that employees wear masks. But it has not been closed down yet, as it is not reopening until Thursday, when an inspector will reportedly pay a visit.

County health officer Dr. Travis Gayles said Monday that the County has "legal authority" to close businesses that do not comply with reopening guidelines. "Businesses will stay open provided they follow the public health guidelines," County Executive Marc Elrich said yesterday. "If they choose to ignore public health guidance, we will shut them down."

Monday, July 6, 2020

Ford Explorer Police Interceptors being stored at Wheaton Plaza (Photos)

Lindsay Ford has another fleet of new vehicles being stored at Wheaton Plaza near JCPenney. These are unmarked Ford Explorer Police Interceptors. They do not have light bars, front tow rigs or other features you find on a marked police cruiser, but do have the telltale driver's side light cannon. If you're in the business of selling these, "defund the police" isn't a phrase you want to hear!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Armed robbery in Aspen Hill

An armed robbery was reported to Montgomery County police on Wednesday night, July 2. The robbery occurred in the 14000 block of Connecticut Avenue in Aspen Hill. A gun was the weapon used in the robbery, which was reported around 10:19 PM.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Another carjacking in Silver Spring

A second carjacking this week in downtown Silver Spring has been reported. The vehicle was taken in a strong-arm robbery on 13th Street at 4:47 AM on Wednesday. An armed robber committed the first carjacking this past Sunday in a Montgomery County-owned garage on Wayne Avenue.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Strong-arm robbery in Takoma Park

A strong-arm robbery was reported to the Takoma Park Police Department early yesterday afternoon. The robbery took place in the 6900 block of Laurel Avenue. It happened around 1:13 PM in a busy commercial area.

Photo courtesy TPPD