Monday, February 28, 2022

Montgomery County government liquor stores stop selling Russian vodka

The Montgomery County government monopoly liquor stores have stopped selling Russian-made spirits, the County announced in a press release on Sunday. Since the County is the only entity that can sell liquor in the jurisdiction, it is an effective ban on the sale of all imported Russian liquor products in Montgomery County "until further notice." The County statement indicated the move was "[i]n solidarity with the people of Ukraine."

Shortly after the ban was issued, individual Montgomery County establishments began announcing they were dropping Russian vodka from their cocktail menus. Montgomery County-operated liquor stores will continue to sell alternative vodka brands such as Smirnoff (manufactured in Illinois, despite the name), Ciroc, Tito's, Absolut, Svedka, Grey Goose, SKYY, Ketel One, and New Amsterdam, the County press release said.

Photo courtesy Russian Standard Vodka

Friday, February 25, 2022

Power outage in Aspen Hill

Pepco is reporting 42 power outages across its service area. One of the largest is in Aspen Hill. A tree fell on a power line in the 13700 block of Parkland Drive. Pepco has a crew on-scene, a resident reports. The official target time for restoration of power there by Pepco is 3:00 PM this afternoon.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Strong-arm carjacking in Aspen Hill

The latest report of a carjacking in Montgomery County brought police officers to an Aspen Hill apartment community Tuesday morning, February 22, 2022. Montgomery County police were called to a residential parking lot in the 3200 block of Weeping Willow Court off Bel Pre Road at 7:19 AM, according to crime data.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe to open in Four Corners

Tropical Smoothie Cafe
is coming to the Four Corners area of Silver Spring. The store will be at 10141 Colesville Road, in the Woodmoor Shopping Center. It will be in a high-profile space at the corner of Colesville and University Boulevard, and should do a great business being located so close to Montgomery Blair High School.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Maryland School Board votes to rescind statewide school mask mandate

The Maryland State Board of Education voted overwhelmingly yesterday to rescind its statewide mandate that required masks to be worn inside of public schools. However, the masks won't be coming off immediately in Montgomery County Public Schools. First, the Maryland General Assembly committee that originally approved the Board mandate must approve the decision to rescind it. Then the Montgomery County Board of Education will have the power to decide its own mask policy.

Photon via State of Maryland

Road work causes lane closures on Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring (Photos)

Road work closed multiple lane closures near the 8500 block of Georgia Avenue last night in downtown Silver Spring. Strangely, the lane closures were not listed on the Maryland State Highway Administration's CHART alert page for state highways like Georgia Avenue (MD 97). This suggests either a failure on the SHA or contractor's part, or that the work was related to an unexpected emergency.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Armed robbery in Montgomery Hills

Montgomery County police are investigating an armed robbery reported in the Montgomery Hills area of Silver Spring on Sunday morning, February 20, 2022. The robbery was reported in a commercial parking lot in the 9400 block of Georgia Avenue at 7:00 AM, according to crime data.

Monday, February 21, 2022

The People's Convoy truck protest expected to impact Capital Beltway traffic on March 5

Traffic alert: The People's Convoy, a cross-county trucker protest scheduled to begin Wednesday, February 23, 2022, in California, is scheduled to pass through Germantown, Gaithersburg and Rockville on I-270 on March 5. Truckers participating in the mobile rally are expected to arrive in Hagerstown a day earlier via I-70, then take I-270 south to the Capital Beltway on the morning of March 5. The resulting traffic is expected to cause delays around the entire Beltway on that Saturday.

Organizers for the convoy characterized the event as "a peaceful and law-abiding transcontinental journey toward the east coast" in a press release, inspired by the recent trucker protest in Canada. Participating organizations and leaders identified in the press release include Dr. Pierre Kory, attorney Tom Renz, Nevada gubernatorial candidate Joey Gilbert, Pastors Rob McCoy and Rick Brown, transportation workers, railroad workers, airline pilots, The Unity Project, The America Project, Advocates for Citizens' Rights, U.S. Freedom Flyers, The American Foundation for Civil Liberties and Freedom, and faith groups from across the country.

What organizers seek is the lifting of all coronavirus mandates and restrictions nationwide, and the cancellation of the national emergency regarding Covid-19. What they will do upon arriving in the D.C. area is the subject of conflicting reports. The People's Convoy website states that the convoy will peacefully disband when it arrives in the D.C. area, and will not enter the city of Washington, D.C. Fox 5 reports that the truckers plan to shut down the Capital Beltway using the convoy, but that is not stated on the People's Convoy official website. What is clear, is that there will very likely be a traffic impact on that day, and you may want to make plans accordingly.

Maps via

Friday, February 18, 2022

New public parking lot in downtown Silver Spring to debut March 1

A new public parking lot will be added to public parking options in downtown Silver Spring on March 1, 2022. It is an existing, small private parking lot adjacent to the entrance to the Fenton Street Village Public Parking Garage 4 on Silver Spring Avenue. According to Montgomery County officials, it will accept mobile payment only.

Montgomery County indoor mask mandate to expire next week

Montgomery County's indoor mask mandate will expire on Monday, February 21, 2022 at 11:59 PM. The expiration was triggered by the meeting of targets for improvement on three health metrics: the number of cases per 100,000 residents, the test positivity rate, and the percentage of County hospital beds filled by Covid-19 patients. 

However, even after Monday night, masks are still required in Montgomery County Public Schools, in government buildings, and on public transportation. School mask requirements may change after the Maryland Board of Education meets to discuss the matter on Tuesday, February 22.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Hidden dragon: The kung fu era of Silver Spring's Capri Theater

Subterranean Silver Spring holds many surprises. One treasure buried under an office building on Fenton Street is the Capri Theater. Today, we are taking a look back at a brief era in its late history, when it was one of several around the country to become a weekly haunt for fans of martial arts movies. The Capri opened at 8630 Fenton Street on January 19, 1972, according to the Cinema Treasures website. Filmgoers who descended the escalator to the lobby that night would have seen the Otto Preminger dramedy, Such Good Friends.

Escalator from street level down
to the former Capri Theater

But under the later ownership of Feifei Chan in February 1981, the Capri was rechristened the China Capri Theater, specializing in martial arts films. The 1970s kung fu craze is most associated with the legendary Bruce Lee. At the China Capri, though, many of the films were the more violent, authentic product directly from Taiwan and Hong Kong, rather than the edited fare found on Saturday television screens by the 1980s. "These show more blood," a teenage Silver Spring resident emerging from the Capri told The Washington Post in July of 1981. 

According to Chan's son, Steve Chan, the concessions stand was stocked with products from the family's Chinese grocery business. A growing Asian population in the region fueled demand and filled seats at the China Capri, and at the other kung fu palace in Montgomery County at the time, Roth's Manor theater in Rockville.

As a fan of martial arts movies myself, it sounds like the China Capri would have been a tremendously fun place to go, Alas, the one-screen theater closed in 1982, which ironically was one of the greatest years in cinema. It lies dormant in the dark today, waiting for a smart and wealthy businessperson to reopen it once again.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Residents launch petition effort to redevelop Glenmont Shopping Center

The Glenmont Shopping Center has for decades been the most visible feature of the community to those passing through the area on Georgia Avenue and Randolph Road. While it enjoyed a golden age in the past as one of the top shopping centers in the area, and still provides many critical products and convenient services to residents today, it admittedly reflects the time period of its construction. As home ownership has turned over in Glenmont, growing numbers of residents want to see the property updated or redeveloped. The latest push is coming from an online petition started by resident Danny Chae.

Chae's petition calls the present condition of the center "embarrassing, an eyesore, and dangerous." It lays out how the upgrades or total redevelopment called for in three consecutive sector plans has never come to pass. 

There are essentially two reasons this has not happened. One is that what appears to be a single shopping area is actually many separate parcels owned by different people or entities. And second, there hasn't been any smart or muscular leadership effort by Montgomery County's elected officials to bring those parties to the table, and reach a consensus on a direction for the future of the center.

The petition asks the politicians and landowners to do just that. So far, 109 residents have signed the petition, but it's only been online for a day. There are about 15,000 more potential signatures out there within the unofficial borders of Glenmont. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Wheaton High School's Crystal Jones is Shorewoman of the Week for Washington College

Former Wheaton High School varsity women's basketball player Crystal Jones is the Shorewoman of the week for the third time in her collegiate career at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. Jones did it again by averaging 13.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in a 3-1 week for the Washington Shorewomen. The team beat Ursinus, Franklin & Marshall, and McDaniel during that run.

Jones was voted the most-improved-player on the team in 2020. The Silver Spring native had already racked up a number of honors and awards at Wheaton HS, lettering in basketball four times, and once each in soccer and volleyball there. She was the first player in the school's history to reach 1000 points, and made the honor roll all four years. In the process, Jones received the Maryland Athletic Association Scholar Athlete Award twice.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Strong-arm robbery in Takoma Park

Takoma Park police responded to a report of a strong-arm robbery on Saturday afternoon, February 12, 2022. The robbery was reported in a commercial parking lot in the 7600 block of New Hampshire Avenue at 1:04 PM, according to crime data.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Java Nation opening Silver Spring location

Java Nation,
a fast-growing local coffee shop chain, continues to expand in Montgomery County. Its newest location will be opening later this year in downtown Silver Spring. The shop will be in the Station Square building at 1010 Wayne Avenue. A new place to grab coffee before heading to the Silver Spring Metro station!

Friday, February 11, 2022

Assault reported at Silver Spring nursing home

Montgomery County police were called to investigate an assault reported at a Silver Spring nursing home on Wednesday afternoon, February 9, 2022. An individual reported being the victim of a 2nd-degree assault at a nursing home in the 2500 block of Musgrove Road in the Calverton area at 1:00 PM, according to crime data.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Washington Gas project scheduled for Takoma Park

Watch for lane closures near 7316 New Hampshire Avenue in Takoma Park in the evening next week. Washington Gas will be installing a new service line at that location starting on Monday, February 14, 2022. One lane will be closed at a time, as the pipe is laid underneath the roadway. Work hours will be 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM. The project is expected to take four nights to complete, weather permitting.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Armed carjacking in Silver Spring

Armed carjackings continue to be a routine phenomenon in Silver Spring, and countywide. The latest was reported Monday night, January 7, 2022. Montgomery County police responded to the incident in the 8100 block of Fenton Street at 6:32 PM, according to crime data.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

I Love Wheaton event scheduled for Sunday, February 13

Celebrate your love for Wheaton a day before Valentine's Day this Sunday, February 13, 2022 at the I Love Wheaton event, sponsored by the Wheaton Urban District and the Montgomery County Department of Recreation. It will take place between noon and 4:00 PM Sunday on the Marian Fryer Town Plaza at 2424 Reedie Drive, right by the Wheaton Metro station.

Activities for the whole family will include ice skating, cupcake and cookie decorating, piping hot chocolate, arts and crafts, face painting, balloon art and lawn games. There will be outdoor heat lamps, a fire pit, and a DJ supplying musical entertainment. 

All activities will be outdoors. The sponsors are recommending - but not requiring - masks for all attendees. There is no charge for the event.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Multiple crimes cited in Montgomery Hills traffic stop

An apparent Montgomery County police traffic stop in the Montgomery Hills area of Silver Spring on February 3, 2022, led to potential charges on several offenses. According to crime data, the incident in the 9600 block of Georgia Avenue at 4:50 PM that afternoon ultimately involved the following offenses: indecent exposure at an unspecified government building, 2nd-degree assault, DUI, resisting officers, and obstructing a criminal investigation. This is just south of the Capital Beltway interchange.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Solaire 8200 Dixon construction update in downtown Silver Spring (Photos)

The lights are on but nobody's home at the tallest building in Silver Spring. Washington Property Company's Solaire 8200 Dixon apartment tower has taken on a nearly-finished appearance from the outside, as fit-out of the 403 residential units inside is underway. The 26-story building will also feature a ground-level food hall, and a 27th level pool and fitness suite. Delivery is anticipated for mid-2022.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Rita's Italian Ice in Aspen Hill for sale

The Rita's Italian Ice at 13621 Georgia Avenue in the wonderful Aspen Manor shopping center in Aspen Hill is for sale. It is located on a leased pad site in the center's parking lot. The asking price is $265,000, according to the online listing. That is a reduction in price, the listing notes. The listing says it opened in 2008, but my recollection is that it was 2005. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Guavaberry opening in downtown Silver Spring

a Dominican restaurant, will open at 8417 Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring later this year, according to a banner posted on the front of the building. This is the former home of The Greek Place, which recently closed. Nearly as big news, though, is that the letter E dropped off the Greek Place sign, and is nowhere to be found. It was hanging down a few weeks ago, but this apparently it for the fifth letter of the alphabet.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Silver Spring firm wins approval for solar farm atop abandoned coal mine in Western Maryland

Competitive Power Ventures
, a Silver Spring-based solar energy partnership operating in nine states, has received approval from the Maryland Public Service Commission to construct a solar farm atop the abandoned Vindex-Arch Coal mine near Kitzmiller in Garrett County. The 200 MWdc Backbone Solar Farm will cover 1,170 acres of land on the coal mining site, and will generate enough electricity to power 30,000 Maryland homes.

While it will not provide the long-term job numbers the mine did while operating, the solar farm project will create 150 temporary construction jobs. It will also generate up to $2.7 million in annual tax revenue for Garrett County, a significant boost in a region that has been losing many industrial jobs. In addition, CPV is providing support for the Deep Creek Watershed Foundation. 

Construction of the Backbone solar farm is expected to commence as soon as permits are issued this year. “This project provides an array of economic and environmental benefits to the region and offers a host of opportunities for local businesses to benefit,” Jennifer Walsh, Executive Director of The Greater Cumberland Committee, said in a statement Monday. CPV is headquartered in the Metro Plaza building at 8403 Colesville Road in downtown Silver Spring.

Solar farm rendering courtesy CPV