Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Motorcycle stolen in Takoma Park

Takoma Park police are investigating the theft of a motorcycle over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The motorcycle was reported stolen on Sunday, November 28, 2021 in the 7900 block of Flower Avenue. Police say the 2008 red Yamaha FZ1 with Maryland tag #472Y45 was stolen sometime between November 24 and 28. If you see the bike, or have any information about who stole it, you are asked to call Takoma Park police at 301-270-1100, and refer to case #210048254.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Wheaton Plaza packed for Black Friday

Holiday shoppers turned out in force for Black Friday at Westfield's Wheaton Plaza mall. The parking lot and garages were filled to pre-pandemic levels the day after Thanksgiving. Santa Claus will continue to be in the Level 1 Macy's court through Christmas Eve, and you can RSVP online to schedule your visit. On December 11, there will be a live performance of Frozen I & II: The Musical in the same area. Due to pandemic crowding restrictions, space will be limited for the two performances, and an RSVP is necessary.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

7-Eleven closes in downtown Silver Spring (Photos)

Here's something that rarely happens, at least in Montgomery County: A 7-Eleven store closing. The 7-Eleven at 8202 Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring has permanently closed. Signage has been removed from the facade, and from the signpost near the intersection. Windows are papered over, and all that remains inside are the built-in refrigerator cases at the rear of the store. I'm told the space is now on the market for lease.

Friday, November 26, 2021

No pancakes Flip'd yet at Downtown Silver Spring

An IHOP pancake breakfast would have been perfect before a day of Black Friday shopping at Downtown Silver Spring and Ellsworth Place. Alas, the new Flip'd by IHOP restaurant construction appears to still be in short-stack limbo at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road. On my most recent trip past, the interior of the previous tenant was still intact with its Asian decor. Still looking forward to this, as downtown Silver Spring needs an IHOP within walking distance.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

On year's biggest travel day, Downtown Silver Spring holiday decor celebrates holiday journeys home

Americans are hitting the roads, airports and train stations on the biggest travel day of the year today. The holiday decorations at Downtown Silver Spring are very timely in that respect. For its tenth annual holiday display, the Peterson Cos. property has chosen the theme of "traveling home for the holidays."

The Gifting Tower display features a bounty of giant, wrapped gifts atop an iconic Volkswagen bus camper van. Its psychedelic 1960s exterior paint is capped off with a wreath. The bus even has operating lights on the front, along with smaller Christmas light bulbs strung across. Don't try to hit the road with that license plate, though!

Guests can photograph themselves in the front seats of the bus. Post your best shot on social media and tag @DTSilverSpring, and you could win a $100 holiday gift card from Downtown Silver Spring. Nice!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Xtra by XOA Lifestyle closes in Silver Spring

Xtra by XOA Lifestyle
has closed at 914 Ellsworth Drive in downtown Silver Spring. The space was previously home to Ulta, which relocated at Downtown Silver Spring. XOA still has a Northern Virginia store, and says it plans to open additional stores before the end of fall.

Trump endorses Dan Cox in Maryland governor race

Republican candidate Delegate Dan Cox has received President Donald Trump's "Complete and Total Endorsement" in the 2022 race for governor of Maryland. Trump declared Cox "MAGA all the way," after speaking with him by phone while Cox was visiting the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis on Monday. He called Cox a "tough lawyer and smart businessman."

The Trump endorsement was another opportunity for the 45th president to roast current Gov. Larry Hogan (R) almost as much as touting Cox's MAGA bona fides. Trump's statement blasted Hogan as a "RINO," or Republican-in-name-only, who "has been terrible for our Country." Hogan has been highly critical of Trump, and briefly entertained the idea of running against him in 2020.

Trump praised Cox as an advocate for low taxes, election security, veterans, school choice, and 2nd Amendment rights, and for opposing further pandemic lockdowns of schools and businesses. Last year, Cox sued Hogan over coronavirus restrictions in a case that was ultimately dismissed, but which raised Cox's statewide name recognition.

Cox expressed his "sincere gratitude" to Trump for the endorsement in a livestream on Facebook Monday evening. He is competing against Maryland Labor Secretary Kelly Schulz, Montgomery County attorney Robin Ficker, Nottingham resident Minh Thanh Luong, and Baltimore County attorney Joe Werner in the Republican primary.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Indecent exposure in downtown Silver Spring

Montgomery County police responded to a report of indecent exposure in downtown Silver Spring last Wednesday night, November 17, 2021. The incident was reported in the 900 block of Bonifant Street at 10:16 PM, according to crime data. An individual allegedly also impeded the police investigation of the incident once officers arrived on-scene.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Silver Spring Hampton Inn closes

The lights are on, but nobody's home at the Hampton Inn/Homewood Suites hotel at 8728 Colesville Road. Well, they're on in the lobby, at least. Guest rooms upstairs are blacked out, and signage has been removed from the hotel.

What's going on here? A search of Maryland property records indicates the building was purchased by United Therapeutics in October for an incredible $48,700,000. The property was previously acquired by Civitas Capital Group in 2019.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Sip & Develop opening in downtown Silver Spring in early 2022

Have you ever wanted to develop film while drinking self-serve beverages? Sip & Develop is the concept you didn't know you needed, opening in early 2022 at 8501 Fenton Street in downtown Silver Spring. No film-developing experience is necessary. Take classes offered, or schedule a private party with friends. You can also rent a darkroom, and rent or purchase photography equipment on-site. Bring your own beverages.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Bike stolen in Takoma Park

Takoma Park police are seeking the public's help in locating a stolen bicycle. The blue Cannondale hybrid mountain bike was parked at the Spring Mill bike rack at Carroll and Grant Avenues on November 7, 2021 at approximately 5:00 PM. When the owner returned at noon on November 8 to pick up the bike, it was gone.

If you have any information, or spot the stolen bike, call Takoma Park police at 301-270-1100. Refer to case number 210046384.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Transit, office use still haven't recovered in Montgomery County, mobility data show

Use of parks continues to surge

New mobility data released by Google indicates Montgomery County residents still aren't riding transit or going to the office in pre-pandemic numbers, despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country. Google compared data acquired from devices between September 29 and November 10, 2021 with pre-covid-outbreak data collected between January 3 and February 6, 2020. 

Transit use is still down 43% from early 2020 ridership numbers, the new data show. Employees are traveling to office workplaces 31% less this fall than in early 2020. 

Montgomery residents are still spending
more time in pharmacies than before the
pandemic, but less than they did this summer

County residents are still shopping in grocery stores and pharmacies more than they did before the pandemic, but only 2% more often, down from 7% more at the time of my last report. Shoppers are still not going into other types of retail stores or recreation facilities as often as they did pre-covid; those numbers are still 11% below the early 2020 baseline.

Use of Montgomery County parks during the
pandemic continues to surge

Montgomery County still has a new appreciation for the great outdoors, though. Fall use of parks countywide shot up to 42% higher than that of early 2020; that number was up only 28% more in warmer July and August 2021, by comparison. 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Solaire 8200 Dixon construction update (Photos)

Here's a look at the progress on the Solaire 8200 Dixon apartment tower on the former site of Progress Place in downtown Silver Spring's Ripley District. Washington Property Company is the developer. The 27-story building is now the tallest in Silver Spring, and will also house a food hall. Delivery is expected for mid-2022.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Assault at Takoma Park hotel

Takoma Park police responded to a report of a second-degree assault at a hotel in the city Wednesday evening, November 10, 2021. The assault was reported at a hotel in the 7400 block of New Hampshire Avenue at 6:10 PM, according to crime data. There are two hotels on that block - the Red Carpet Inn and a Quality Inn.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Two cars stolen in Ashton

Montgomery County police responded to reports of at least two vehicles being stolen in Ashton yesterday. Cars were stolen in the 800 block of Tucker Lane, and in the 18400 block of New Hampshire Avenue, according to crime data. 

Property was stolen from another vehicle on that same block of New Hampshire, and the thieves later attempted to use credit cards taken from it. Items were also stolen from a vehicle parked in a driveway in the 17700 block of Crystal Spring Terrace. If you are in Ashton, make sure your vehicle is locked, and that no valuables are visible in the interior.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Armed carjacking at Windsor Court apartments in Silver Spring

Montgomery County police were called to the Windsor Court apartments on Castle Boulevard Monday evening, after an armed carjacking was reported there. The carjacking occurred at 6:06 PM, according to crime data.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Student arrested in slashing/stabbing at Montgomery Blair High School

A Montgomery Blair High School student was slashed with a knife at 10:01 AM yesterday in the school parking lot. The student was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Three hours later, another student was taken into custody. Charges are pending against that individual, who allegedly was the assailant in the attack.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Indecent exposure in Glenmont

Montgomery County police responded to a report of indecent exposure in Glenmont late Friday afternoon, November 5, 2021. The incident was reported on the street in the 12800 block of Flack Street at 5:52 PM, according to crime data.

Friday, November 5, 2021

New Purple Line contractor selected

Maryland transportation agencies, along with the Purple Line Transit Partners entity, have finally selected a new contractor to replace the one that quit before completing the light rail project. Maryland Transit Solutions (MTS) - a partnership between Dragados USA, Inc. and OHL USA, Inc. - won the bidding war, Purple Line Transit Partners announced today. 

The announcement states that the final financial agreement should be signed by February 2022. Construction would then resume next spring. Jane Garvey, chair of PLTP's board, praised the fact that the search for a new partner took less than the 18 months typically needed to complete the bidding process on a project of this complexity. Only two bidders were ultimately in the running. The collapse of the construction process left a large swath of incomplete infrastructure and shuttered public amenities across Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring, Long Branch and Prince George's County.

8700 1st Avenue for sale in Silver Spring

An enticing redevelopment opportunity is on the market in downtown Silver Spring. 8700 1st Avenue is for sale, but no asking price is given. The property currently holds a single-family home converted to business use, and a small parking lot, but is surrounded by high-rise buildings. It is currently zoned to allow about 55,000 square feet of development. MAC Realty Advisors is showing an 8-story condo building with ground floor retail as an example of what is possible on this site.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

HAWK signal being installed at Fenton Street crosswalk by Whole Foods

A HAWK signal is being installed at a busy crosswalk on Fenton Street in downtown Silver Spring. There is already a crosswalk there outside the Whole Foods Market. The HAWK signal is placed at crosswalks that are not governed by traffic signals. They are normally dark and inactive until activated by a pedestrian, triggering a yellow-to-red cycle that stops automotive traffic.