Monday, January 31, 2022

Complaints against Takoma Park police dropped 54% in 2021

The Takoma Park police department announced that complaints filed against officers and employees dropped 54% in 2021 compared to the year previous. 24 complaints were filed with the department in 2020; last year, that number dropped to 13. Only 3 of the complaints filed in 2021 were made by community members. The other ten were filed by employees of the department.

Internal affairs investigations were launched in response to each of the 13 complaints, TPPD Public Information Officer Catherine Plevy said in a statement. Eleven of those investigations have so far resulted in disciplinary action.

No subject of any of the 13 complaints filed was terminated, but one resigned before their investigation could be completed. Seven received a written reprimand, two were suspended from duty without pay, and one was demoted. In one case, discipline was found to be unwarranted, and a disciplinary decision is pending in the remaining case.

Plevy noted that external complaints may be filed using the police tab on the City of Takoma Park website. She reported that in 2021, officers had a total of 10,346 contacts with the public, which included calls for service, self-initiated calls, and traffic stops. The thirteen complaints represented 0.0013% of all contacts with the public in 2021.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Car stolen from Wheaton parking lot

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a stolen car in Wheaton yesterday morning, January 27, 2022. The vehicle was reported stolen from a residential parking lot in the 2200 block of Shorefield Road at 8:51 AM, according to crime data. 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Sip & Develop update in Silver Spring (Photos)

Signage has been installed at Sip & Develop, opening March 12, 2022 at 8501 Fenton Street in downtown Silver Spring. The general concept, you may recall from when I broke the story last fall, is developing film the old-fashioned way while enjoying adult beverages you bring yourself. It also serves as an event space, as well as a classroom for novice photographers, with classes available. Everything is coming together inside, and on the outside, window displays entice budding and grizzled shutterbugs alike.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse relocating in downtown Silver Spring

DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse
has closed at 910 Ellsworth Drive at Downtown Silver Spring. The store plans to relocate across the street to the Ellsworth Place mall at 8661 Colesville Road, where it will reopen on March 24, 2022. In the meantime, DSW is directing customers to its Wheaton Plaza and The Mall at Prince George's stores.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

DoorDash to bring DashMart convenience store service to Montgomery County

DashMart items awaiting orders via
virtual convenience store service

Montgomery County DoorDash users will get access to the company's DashMart convenience store service in the coming months. Much like the "ghost kitchens" that serve a variety of menus from one restaurant - or a remote kitchen that isn't in a restaurant at all - DashMart functions as a ghost convenience store. DoorDash drivers will pick up your order from a central warehouse in Rockville, including anything from milk and eggs to ice cream, soda and potato chips. DashMart also partners with local businesses who wish to sell their packaged food items, artisan wares and home goods through the delivery service.

Photo courtesy DoorDash

Monday, January 24, 2022

"Coming soon" signage installed at Papa Sherman's Breakfast Club in Silver Spring (Photos)

About a week after I broke the story about restaurateur Jason Miskiri's latest Silver Spring venture, "coming soon" signage was installed across the storefront. Papa Sherman's will apparently be a breakfast eatery, according to the signage, which adds "The Breakfast Club" to the name. 

A website URL displayed on the signage does not appear to be functioning yet, but there appears to have already been significant progress on the painting of the interior since my first report. Papa Sherman's Breakfast Club will be located at 8240 Fenton Street.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Construction finally begins at Flip'd by IHOP in Silver Spring (Photos)

Nearly a year after I broke the story of Flip'd by IHOP opening a location at Downtown Silver Spring, construction has finally begun on the interior fit-out of the restaurant. An IHOP with a smaller menu, smaller space, and an emphasis on takeout and delivery orders, the concept makes IHOP's parent company appear wise about where the money is a variant-plagued pandemic dining world. Looking forward to this opening.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Renovations ahead for Orchard Center Target store

The Target store at 12000 Cherry Hill Road in the Orchard Center in Silver Spring will be getting a significant refresh in 2022. Plans include adding a new exterior door and ADA-compliant ramp. Areas of the store Target says it plans to update include just about everything - the sales floor, changing rooms, restrooms, guest services desk, employee-only office space, and the cafe/Starbucks. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Assault at supermarket in Wheaton

Montgomery County police were called to a supermarket in Wheaton yesterday afternoon, after an individual reported being the victim of a second-degree assault. The assault was reported at a grocery store in the 12000 block of Georgia Avenue at 5:43 PM, according to crime data. An H Mart is located on that block.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Indecent exposure in downtown Silver Spring

Montgomery County police responded to a report of indecent exposure in downtown Silver Spring early yesterday morning, January 17, 2022. The incident was reported in the 1100 block of Wayne Avenue at 3:37 AM, according to crime data.

Monday, January 17, 2022

The Greek Place closes in Silver Spring

The Greek Place
has closed at 8417 Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring. A sign in the front window says the space is now available for lease. You still have The Big Greek Cafe a couple of blocks down at 8213 Georgia.

Snow gives way to sleet, rain, and wind in Montgomery County

A Sunday snowstorm turned out to be a minor one, in general, for Montgomery County. Snow coated the area for several hours starting Sunday afternoon, but eventually transitioned to sleet, freezing rain, and then rain, as temperatures rose. The main concerns today will be blustery winds and wet or slushy road and sidewalk conditions. There is a wind advisory in place today, warning of occasional gusts reaching 40-55 MPH.

The National Weather Service advises that any loose objects in yards and on balconies be brought indoors. Drivers and pedestrians should be prepared for falling trees and power lines, and power outages. There is currently a small power outage in North Bethesda, affecting 5 Pepco customers near Fernwood Road and Democracy Boulevard. Pepco estimates power will be restored there at 6:00 AM this morning. There are also small outages in the Homewood area of Kensington, and in Forest Glen directly adjacent to the Capital Beltway.

Metrobus is on a Saturday Supplemental schedule today. Ride On bus is on a holiday schedule, and Ride On extRa and Flex services are not operating. The current temperature is one degree above freezing, and will rise steadily to a high of 36 degrees in the early afternoon hours. Expect occasional snow flurries or light rain this morning, giving way to cloudy and dry conditions by noon. The NWS forecasts that any notable snowfall today will be limited to the mountains to our west.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Papa Sherman's restaurant to open in downtown Silver Spring (Photos)

Papa Sherman's
, the latest venture from restaurateur Jason Miskiri, will open in 2022 at 8240 Fenton Street, in the Fenton Silver Spring apartments. Miskiri has previously opened The Society Restaurant & Lounge and The Angry Jerk in Silver Spring, and has in the past alluded to having additional dining concepts in the works for Silver Spring and the region. Construction on the restaurant interior has begun, as you can see in these photos.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Pollo Campero closes downtown Silver Spring location

It was a short ride and a spicy one for Pollo Campero at 8662 Colesville Road in downtown Silver Spring. The Dallas-based chicken chain opened this location in October of 2017, with a prime location by The Fillmore. Alas, when Covid-19 shut down the concert venue, there were no crowds to buy chicken before or after the show. Pollo Campero is directing patrons here to their Takoma Park and Columbia Heights locations.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Signage installed at J. Hollinger's in Silver Spring

Finally, there's a "sign" of life at the long-delayed J. Hollinger's steakhouse at 8601 Georgia Avenue, in the Lee Building in downtown Silver Spring. It was nearly a year ago that I broke the news that the owner of the Daily Dish and Dish and Dram would be launching this venture in the former Ray's The Classics space. 

"Coming soon" signage is also promising a raw bar, seafood, and craft cocktails. According to the new placeholding website for J. Hollinger's, the restaurant will be opening in early spring. The site also features some enticing preview photos of menu items that will be served.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Sephora at Kohl's coming soon to Silver Spring

Construction will begin soon on a Sephora at Kohl's beauty section at the Kohl's at 12024 Cherry Hill Road, at the Orchard Center in the Calverton area of Silver Spring. The Sephora shop will replace the existing Kohl's beauty counter area. Maryland was not in the first wave of Sephora at Kohl's locations opened in 2021, so expect to see more of these conversions at Kohl's statewide in the coming year.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Armed carjacking in Stoneybrook Estates

Montgomery County police responded to an armed carjacking in the Stoneybrook Estates neighborhood of Silver Spring early last Friday morning, January 7, 2022. The carjacking took place in the driveway of a home in the 4100 block of Delancy Drive at 4:03 AM, according to crime data.

Friday, January 7, 2022

MCPS drops 5% threshold for virtual learning

MCPS Interim Superintendent 
Monifa McKnight

Montgomery County Public Schools announced its latest coronavirus policy about-face this afternoon. After starting the spring semester with a 5% threshold for Covid-19 cases that would trigger a school to switch to virtual learning, eleven schools were forced to go online. But when more than 100 schools met the threshold days later, MCPS canceled a scheduled Thursday email update to parents. It then announced in the past hour that it is dropping the 5% threshold for virtual learning.

"Moving forward, MCPS and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will examine schools on a case-by-case basis to determine if any particular school needs to transition to virtual learning for a designated period of time," Interim Superintendent of Schools Monifa McKnight and Acting Chief Health Officer James Bridgers wrote in this afternoon's statement. "Factors considered will continue to include the number of students and staff who have tested positive; the number of students in quarantine; the number of staff absent for COVID-related reasons; and the level of spread of the virus in the school."

McKnight and Bridgers cited the fact that the state of Maryland does not call for a specific threshold to suspend in-class learning. Their statement did not explain why the threshold was adopted if not recommended by the state. It said the Thursday emails will resume next week. Take-home rapid test kits will also be distributed to all students and staff next week, the statement added. Students who test positive will have to isolate for 10 days from the date of the positive test.

Photo courtesy MCPS

Villanova to retire jersey of Silver Spring's Josh Hart

Villanova University announced it will retire the No. 3 jersey of Josh Hart during halftime of the Wildcats' game vs. Marquette on January 19, 2022. Hart, a native of Silver Spring, attended Wheaton High School and Sidwell Friends before spending four seasons with Villanova. 

Playing for the Wildcats, Hart amassed a large resume of accolades and awards, thrice being named Big East Rookie of the Week for starters. He was Big East Player of the Year in 2017, and MVP of the Big East tournament twice.  Hart is the only Villanova player in history to record 1,900 or more points (1,921), 800 or more rebounds (812), 250 or more assists (266) and 150 or more steals (161) in his collegiate career.

Drafted by the Utah Jazz in the first round in 2017, his rights were traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. After two years on the west coast, he now plays for the New Orleans Pelicans. Villanova coach Jay Wright calls Hart "one of Villanova's all-time greats."

"We're thrilled to be able to honor a true Villanova Basketball legend," Wright said in a statement yesterday. "Josh is a relentless competitor who elevated our team from the moment he joined us as a freshman. His tenacity as a rebounder, scorer and defender was instrumental to our team's success." Villanova's game against Marquette is currently scheduled to air on the CBS Sports Network at 8:00 PM on January 19.

Photo courtesy Villanova University

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Ramsey Avenue street closure ahead next week in Silver Spring

All road and utility work announcements must be taken with a grain of salt at the moment, given the recent snow storm and two others incoming over the next week. But for now, the Maryland Transit Administration is advising that a segment of Ramsey Avenue between Bonifant Street and the Silver Spring Transit Center will temporarily close to vehicular traffic starting "on or about January 10, 2022." The segment will remain closed through the end of January, although pedestrians will continue to have access during this time.

Utility locations related to the Purple Line will take place on this segment between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM during this closure. But don't be surprised if the dates move, especially if we get any more significant snowfall or icy conditions that interfere with the project.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Westfield warns about store staffing levels at Wheaton Plaza mall

Mall operator Westfield is warning patrons about staff shortages at both of its Montgomery County properties. Blue alert banners have been posted at the top of the home pages for Westfield's Montgomery Mall and Wheaton Plaza malls advising patrons to call ahead to verify if a particular store is open regular hours. Hours may vary at the moment, Westfield says, due to "unexpected changes in store staffing levels." This week, factors have included not only Covid-19 and the media-hyped "Great Resignation," but also winter weather (more of which is on the way in the coming days).