Monday, November 30, 2020

Strong-arm robbery in Lyttonsville

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a strong-arm robbery in the Lyttonsville area of Silver Spring on Thanksgiving morning. The robbery was reported in the 2400 block of Ross Road around 5:37 AM.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Indecent exposure in Silver Spring

Montgomery County police responded to a report of indecent exposure in Silver Spring Monday night. The incident was reported in the 600 block of University Boulevard E. around 9:27 PM, according to crime data.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Strong-arm rape in Wheaton park

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a strong-arm rape at a park in Wheaton early Monday morning. The sexual assault was reported at an unspecified park on Reedie Drive around 12:11 AM, according to crime data.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Gas pumps being replaced at Exxon in downtown Silver Spring (Photos)

One gas station in downtown Silver Spring isn't currently able to sell gas. The Exxon at 8384 Colesville Road is having its gas pumps replaced. A similar replacement project took place recently at an Exxon station in downtown Bethesda. While there aren't any pumps at the moment, the rest of the gas station and its convenience store remain open for business.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Fatal crash in Layhill

A Rockville man was killed in an auto accident in the Layhill area of Silver Spring early Sunday morning, Montgomery County police announced. Stefano Jorge Fernandes, 23, was traveling west on Norbeck Road in his 2006 Mazda6 around 1:08 AM, when it left the roadway for unknown reasons. The vehicle collided with several trees in the vicinity of Whitehaven Road, police said, and Fernandes was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The Collision Reconstruction Unit (CRU) continues to investigate this collision. Anyone with information regarding this collision is asked to contact CRU detectives at 240-773-6620.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Armed robbery in Silver Spring

Montgomery County police responded to a report of an armed robbery near the New Hampshire Avenue-Capital Beltway interchange Wednesday morning. The robbery was reported in the 1800 block of Greenwich Road Drive, outside of the Avery Park Apartment Homes around 7:43 AM. According to crime data, the weapon used was not a gun.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Downtown Silver Spring Christmas tree and lights (Video+Photos)

The Christmas tree is up at Downtown Silver Spring, and it may be the best one yet. This year, the theme is, "Sparkling Snowfall," a return to a seasonal theme in contrast to past diversions like bicycles. See this and more holiday decorations in the video and photos below:

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Christmas banners installed in downtown Silver Spring (Photos)

Santa's elves were hard at work getting downtown Silver Spring ready for the holiday season last night. Workers on Colesville Road removed summer banners with flags and fireworks, and replaced them with Christmas ones like the wreath banner shown below. These intrepid elves went about their work high in the air, even as blustery winds and frigid temperatures buffeted the downtown.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Hogan orders all Maryland restaurants, bars to close at 10 PM, new restrictions on retail, hospital visits, sporting events, places of worship

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced additional restrictions on businesses and activities this afternoon, as the coronavirus pandemic worsens in the state and around the world. Effective Friday at 5:00 PM, Hogan has ordered all restaurants and bars statewide to close at 10:00 PM nightly. None will be allowed to open between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM. 

Hogan also ordered most hospital visits to be suspended with some exceptions, and nursing home visitors will be limited to compassionate care visitors, who have to be tested 72 hours before visiting. The governor also banned all attendance at professional and collegiate sporting events, just weeks after fans were allowed to return to stadiums in the state.

Under the new restrictions, all retail stores and places of worship must reduce capacity to 50%. Hogan urged any students returning from college, or who plan to be around elderly relatives for Thanksgiving, to get tested for Covid-19 first. 

The governor asked hospitals to postpone any elective procedures or treatments where possible. He said hospitalizations are up 100% since November 1. The number of patients in ICU beds is the highest since June 2020. Maryland's Health Department is issuing an order to allow hospitals that are full, or nearing capacity, to transfer patients to other hospitals.

"We are in a war right now, and the virus is winning," Hogan said. "Now more than ever, I am pleading with the people of our state to stand together a while longer to help us battle this surging virus.”

Monday, November 16, 2020

Armed robbery in Connecticut Avenue Estates

Montgomery County police responded to the report of an armed robbery last Wednesday night, November 11, 2020 in the Connecticut Avenue Estates area of Silver Spring. The robbery was reported in the 12000 block of Centerhill Street at 9:27 PM. Crime data indicates the weapon used was not a gun.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Van-demonium at Wheaton Plaza (Photos)

An increasingly-common sight at the few remaining malls in Montgomery County is the storage of vehicles by local automobile dealerships. We've seen Ford Explorers and mini cargo vans from Wheaton's Lindsay Ford at Wheaton Plaza this year. Now there's a whole fleet of Ford Transit Vans. These are the Euro-style Ford Transit vans, but I give the automaker credit for keeping some minimal resemblance to the ultimate van of all time, the Ford Econoline, in its Ford Transit 150 Cargo. Respect the van!

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Purple Line lane closure on Wayne Avenue in Silver Spring, weekend work possible

The right eastbound lane on Wayne Avenue (MD 594A) from Mansfield Road to Sligo Creek Parkway will be closed for about six weeks for Purple Line-related utility relocations. Ride On bus stop #27070, located at the southeast corner of Wayne Avenue and Mansfield Road, will be relocated to the southwest corner of Wayne Avenue and Mansfield Road while the lane closure is in effect. 

Due to the heavy rain this week, and in the future, some work may have to be shifted to weekends. Work hours on weekends will be between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

East County restaurants hit hard by new Montgomery County Covid-19 restrictions as cases, hospitalizations spike

East County restaurants already struggling through the coronavirus pandemic are facing another financial blow, as Covid-19 cases spike in Montgomery County ahead of what is expected to be a difficult winter. Many mom-and-pop restaurants, and even operators of chain businesses, have said they are struggling to turn a profit while surviving month-to-month with various government assistance programs. On Tuesday, the Montgomery County Council unanimously approved tougher Covid-19 restrictions, including the reduction of restaurant capacity to 25% effective yesterday at 5:00 PM.

The new restrictions limit gatherings to 25 people or less. 25% capacity restrictions will also apply to houses of worship, retail stores, museums and galleries, and gyms. Restaurants will now be required to maintain a record of all indoor and outdoor patrons, for at least 30 days, to assist with contact tracing. Information collected must include date, time, name of each patron and contact information.

Loss of indoor dining capacity comes just as plummeting temperatures make outdoor dining much less practical. Whether heaters and tents will in any way reduce that impact will be determined for the first time this winter. We are in uncharted waters in an industry that already has razor-thin profit margins in high-rent, high-tax, high-operating-cost, liquor-monopoly-controlled Montgomery County.

At the same time, there is no doubt the pandemic is taking a turn for the worse as winter approaches, as many had predicted. Maryland hospital beds are currently filled at a higher rate than during the summer coronavirus spike. All County hospitals were under Blue Alert Monday night, and at least one went to a full Red Alert Tuesday, forcing rerouting of emergency patients who require electrocardiogram-monitored beds. Yesterday, Covid-related hospitalizations in America reached a record high.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Arrest made in stabbing outside Wheaton Metro station

Montgomery County police announced they have arrested a suspect in the November 1, 2020 stabbing of a man outside the Wheaton Metro station. Nelly Lovette Moore, 22, of the 9200 block of Hummingbird Terrace in Gaithersburg was arrested and faces assault charges. Detectives say they do not believe the suspect and victim knew each other. Moore was transported to the County Central Processing Unit, and is being held on a $5,000 bond.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Hook & Reel "coming soon" at Wheaton Plaza

Hook & Reel
has posted signage for a future location opening at 11160 Veirs Mill Road at Wheaton Plaza. The Cajun seafood boil restaurant will be located next to Party City.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Jollibee posts "coming soon" signage at Wheaton Plaza

Filipino fast food chain Jollibee is coming to Wheaton Plaza. They've posted "coming soon" signage at the future location. Jollibee's specialties include their famous Chicken Joy fried chicken, their Yumburger hamburger, and Jolly Spaghetti topped with ground beef and pieces of hot dog and ham. In place of the standard apple pie is a peach-mango pie. They also serve breakfast items with a Filipino twist in the morning.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Silver Spring Washington Sports Club begins clearing out

Washington Sports Clubs' Silver Spring location at 901 Wayne Avenue has closed. The space is now being packed up and cleared out. WSC also closed a downtown Bethesda location earlier this year. Between those closures, the parent company filed for bankruptcy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

2020 Montgomery County election results show local political machine in full control

Montgomery County Election Results 2020

100% of Election Day-cast voting results were released by the Montgomery County Board of Elections as of 1:53 AM this morning, as well as some early voting tabulations. Analysis of the results follows below. No election-related unrest has impacted Montgomery County so far, as both Joe Biden and Donald Trump retained pathways to victory in the presidential race overnight, with Biden winning Maryland and holding the lead in electoral votes nationally as of this hour. 

Amazon Books boarded up
at Bethesda Row on election night

Amazon Books boarded up its windows at Bethesda Row Tuesday, and additional Friendship Heights businesses did the same. The 24-hour CVS Pharmacy at 7809 Wisconsin Avenue simply closed without explanation or boards. While police maintained a heavy presence around those key retail hubs, no additional businesses have followed in boarding up their windows.

CVS Pharmacy unexpectedly closes
election night in downtown Bethesda

Election results analysis

Montgomery County 2020 election results so far show the county's political machine in full control, with a majority of voters rejecting citizen-petitioned ballot questions, and endorsing a County Council ballot question that would allow their taxes to be raised higher than ever. It's unclear if voters knew approving Question A would end up giving them more and larger tax hikes, as the text of the question falsely made it appear to be a limit on taxation. But voters rejected Question B that would have actually placed a new limit on tax increases, despite having supported Robin Ficker's other tax cap ballot questions in the past.

Boarded-up businesses in
Friendship Heights

Also failing so far on the ballot is Question D, which would have eliminated the At-Large seats on the County Council, and realigned the body's structure into nine more-compact districts. Voters approved a competing measure by the County Council, Question C, which will keep the Council as-is, while adding two new district seats. 

Friendship Heights

It's unclear how Question C's approval will actually change the dynamics of leadership and representation for three reasons: First, by only adding two new districts instead of four, all seven districts will be larger than nine smaller ones. Second, the At-Large seats remain to counterbalance parochial interests, while likely remaining in the same geographical area downcounty, retaining a solid control over policy by downcounty politicians and their financial backers. Finally, the Council could choose to ignore the vote, and keep the status quo as it did when it overturned the will of the voters on the Ambulance Fee a decade ago.

Police cruiser parked inside the
Maryland-D.C. border in Chevy Chase

What is clear is that the Washington Post editorial board continues to hold increasingly-outsize sway over regional voting decisions. The Post has scored win after win in recent years, after a period when Montgomery County voters for a time exercised more independence in their decisions. Results so far show a majority of voters precisely following the advice of the Post and the County Democratic Party sample ballot in 2020.

Jeff Bezos taking no chances

The lone resistance to the Post's marching orders came in the District 2 Board of Education race, where results so far show voters returning Rebecca Smondrowski to her seat by a twenty-point margin. Smondrowski is the only candidate to survive the primary and general election this year while not wholeheartedly endorsing a controversial push to redistrict school boundaries. Post endorsees Lynne Harris (BOE At-Large) and Shebra Evans (BOE District 4) are coasting to victory at the moment.

With the Post's increasingly-heavy thumb on the voting scales in Montgomery County, change in a declining and stagnant county remains unlikely. There is a clear partnership between the paper and the Montgomery County cartel on dystopian talking points and objectives: dismantling existing single-family-home neighborhoods, reducing the quality of all schools rather than fixing the failing ones, squashing any effort to elect independent community-focused officials (even if they are Democrats), maintaining developer dominance of County politics and land-use decisions, and an Ahab-like quest to boot Marc Elrich from office in 2022.

The Post dedicated several pages to high-quality coverage of the D.C. City Council races this year. It glaringly did not in the 2018 Montgomery County Council races, a clear indication of its role in stifling any voices of dissent or change in Montgomery County.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Purple Line overnight utility relocations begin on Wayne Avenue in Silver Spring (Video+Photos)

Purple Line-related overnight utility relocations on Wayne Avenue have begun in downtown Silver Spring. Last night, the WSSC was working underground in front of the Silver Spring Library. 

The relocations will take place between Fenton Street and Dale Drive over the next month. Work hours will be 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, weather permitting. Such work is among the construction tasks the state of Maryland is managing while it continues negotiations with the Purple Line contractor that walked off the job over cost overrun disputes with the state.