Friday, April 29, 2022

Fenton Street crosswalk HAWK signal now flashing in Silver Spring (Photos)

The new HAWK signal over the crosswalk by Whole Foods Market on Fenton Street in Silver Spring has been hooked up to electricity. Yellow lights are now flashing on the crossbar. The pedestrian control boxes were not yet functional as of last evening, but should be very soon.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Armed robbery reported at Kensington home

Montgomery County police were called to a home in Kensington, after an armed robbery was reported there late Tuesday night. The robbery was reported at a home in the 10000 block of Cedar Lane at 11:42 PM, according to crime data. A firearm was the weapon utilized in the robbery.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Armed robbery at White Oak Shopping Center

An armed robbery was reported at the White Oak Shopping Center yesterday afternoon. The robbery was reported at an "appliance/electronics" retailer in the 11200 block of New Hampshire Avenue at 2:00 PM, according to crime data. The Sears Appliance Repair Center appears to be the only business matching that description on that block.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Montgomery County liquor store burglarized in Long Branch

One or more burglars broke into the Montgomery County liquor store at 8706-B Flower Avenue in the Long Branch area of Silver Spring Sunday night. The burglary was reported at 7:11 PM, according to crime data. 

Monday, April 25, 2022

Silver Spring man charged in Takoma Park homicide

Takoma Park police have arrested and charged a Silver Spring resident in the murder of 23-year-old Ahmadou Bamba Gueye of Takoma Park on April 22, 2022. Abraham Douglas, 21, was found later that evening, when he allegedly burglarized a home in the 600 block of Kennebec Avenue. Upon searching Douglas, officers allegedly found a handgun and 50-round drum magazine, and that he was suffering from a gunshot wound to his "lower extremity."

Douglas was transported to a local hospital for treatment and released. At that time, he was transported to the Montgomery County Central Processing Unit, where is he still being held without bond. Douglas has been charged with murder, burglary and firearms violations, among other offenses Takoma Park police did not detail. 

Detectives say the investigation into this homicide is ongoing. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call 301-270-1100. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may text a tip to 847411. Type TPPDTIP at the beginning of your message

Friday, April 22, 2022

Enterprise Rent-a-Car burglarized in Takoma Park

Takoma Park police responded to a report of a break-in at Enterprise Rent-a-Car at 6494 New Hampshire Avenue on April 16, 2022. At 9:25 AM, the business reported an overnight burglary had taken place. Officers determined that a suspect smashed a window at the rear of the building with a rock to gain entry. Once inside, the suspect stole unspecified property, and fled. 

Police are asking that anyone with information about this crime call them at 301-270-1100. When calling, refer to case #220016124.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Sign installed at Dominican salon in downtown Silver Spring

A "sign' of activity and an impending opening was visible at the new Dominican salon at 946 Wayne Avenue in downtown Silver Spring last night. Two people were using ladders to install the salon's permanent sign above the storefront. The sign says "ICU Beauty Bar."

Crossroads of Kensington shopping center leasing-up, but seeking extension at Planning Board

The future Crossroads of Kensington shopping center at 10619 Connecticut Avenue has a new name, and could soon be more than 50% leased before it has even been approved by Montgomery County and built. Previously referred to as "Kensington Crossing," the latest project documents are now referring to the center as Crossroads of Kensington. 

Despite the promising early interest from tenants, developer Mountain View Burleson, LLC is asking the County Planning Board for an extension on the final review of the project's site plan. The applicant's attorney, Bill Kominers, says the reason for the extension is that MVB needs a few more weeks to work with the County, the State Highway Administration, and the Town of Kensington on the project's Stormwater Concept Plan. That effort has been complicated by the existing stormwater infrastructure at the project site, which is a former gas station.

Planning Board commissioners will review the extension request at their April 28, 2022 meeting. If the commissioners approve the extension, the plan would instead be reviewed no later than June 3, 2022. Planning staff is recommending approval of the extension.

As I previously reported, one space at the center has been leased by M&T Bank. The latest update is that three of the remaining five spaces are "at-lease," meaning that a tentative agreement has been reached with potential tenants for those storefronts, and that a lease-signing is likely imminent for the three. Because final leases haven't been signed yet, MVB is not publicly identifying those additional tenants at this time.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Car stolen from Aspen Hill condo parking lot

Montgomery County police are investigating the theft of a vehicle from a condominum parking lot in Aspen Hill yesterday morning. The vehicle was reported stolen in the 3900 block of Bel Pre Road at 7:00 AM, according to crime data. That is the location of the Grand Bel II Condominums. It is believed the car was stolen sometime between 10:00 PM Monday night and 7:00 AM Tuesday morning.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

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

Here's a look at the progress on what will be the tallest building in Silver Spring, the Solaire 8200 Dixon apartments. The 26-story building will include 403 apartments, and a ground-level food hall. I'm told that construction on the interior fit-out of the food hall is going to begin soon. Delivery of the project, which is being developed by the Washington Property Company, is anticipated for mid-2022.

Hans Riemer endorsed by former MD governor Parris Glendening in Montgomery County Executive race

Former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening (D) has endorsed Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer (D - At-Large) for County Executive. A video message from the two-term former governor supporting Riemer will be released this morning. Riemer's campaign cites the endorsement as the first from a current or former statewide leader for any candidate in the executive race.

Prior to his gubernatorial career, Glendening served as County Executive in Prince George's County. “As a three-term former County Executive," Glendening said in a statement this morning. "I know what the position takes. I know that Hans has the ideas and experience to create a more prosperous, connected, and inclusive Montgomery County.” The former governor touts Riemer as "a visionary with a record of success."

By the time Glendening left the governor's mansion in Annapolis, he was known for championing smart growth. In his video message, Glendening says Riemer is "carrying the smart growth vision forward. When I was governor, there was no Pike & Rose. We were not building housing on top of Metro. The idea of a Purple Line Innovation Corridor was just a pipe dream." Glendening says he was impressed with Riemer's emails to constituents during the long construction of the Purple Line, and would often discuss the project with the councilman. 

Combined with Riemer's $725,000 fundraising haul in the first quarter of 2022, which was approximately double what incumbent executive Marc Elrich's raised, his campaign is feeling a new sense of momentum in the race. “These past few weeks have shown us one thing: our campaign has the momentum and energy to decisively win this thing,” Campaign Manager Aziz Yakub said. He observed that the more than 1,100 grassroots campaign donors responsible for the fundraising success are now being joined by establishment figures like Glendening. “We’ve always known that Hans has a record and vision that speaks to the electorate," Yakub said. "Now, we’re seeing that real institutional forces in Maryland politics, like Governor Glendening, know that Hans has a clear path to victory. When Governor Glendening speaks, people listen.”

Riemer faces Elrich, David Blair and Peter James in the July 19 Democratic primary. Republicans Shelly Skolnick and Reardon Sullivan are competing for the GOP nomination.

Image via Hans Riemer for County Executive

Monday, April 18, 2022

Cocaine bust at Wheaton Best Buy

A shoplifting call turned into a drug bust when Montgomery County police arrived at an appliance and electronics store in the 10900 block of Georgia Avenue in Wheaton early Saturday afternoon. Crime data indicates a suspect at the store was also allegedly in possession of an unspecified amount of cocaine. Best Buy is the only such store on that block of Georgia. 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Hans Riemer touts $725K funding haul in Montgomery County Executive race

Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer (D - At-Large) announced that February and March 2022 have been his strongest fundraising months so far in his campaign for County Executive. His fundraising total now stands at $725,292, and his campaign believes it is on a pace to top $1 million and max out the public financing system. 

Riemer had raised almost $500,000 by the time of his January campaign filing, meaning that more than $225,292 was brought in between then and his April 15 filing. Incumbent County Executive Marc Elrich (D) raised $27,805 in eligible private contributions between January 13, 2022 and April 4, according to his campaign's most recent filing with the Maryland State Board of Elections. Elrich had $390,144.91 in his County Executive campaign account as of April 4, and qualified for another $85,000 in matching public funds. Both men are using public financing.

“We’re powered by grassroots donors who want to see Montgomery County making faster progress on jobs and housing, climate action and policing reform,” Riemer said in a statement. “Our supporters are looking for a stronger commitment to kids and education than what they have seen from the Executive and they want leadership that is focused on the future, not stuck in the past.” Riemer's press release said his campaign contributions came from 1,149 individual County residents, and that he is accepting no money from corporations, PACs, or any contributions over $250.

Democrat Peter James is the only other candidate in the race to file an April report as of today. He only recently entered the race and has raised less than $1000. Democrat David Blair is not required to file a report this month because his committee was formed prior to the January filing, and he is not using public financing. Republicans Shelly Skolnick and Reardon Sullivan have not filed a finance report yet; both just entered the race last week. Democrat Tom Hucker dropped out of the County Executive race Friday night.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Al Carr enters District 4 County Council contest as map changes shake up district Council races

Maryland House Delegate Al Carr (D - District 18) withdrew from his reelection race last evening, and filed to run for the Montgomery County Council District 4 seat. That move just before last night's filing deadline, and last-minute map changes, shook up district contests across the county, as well as the District 18 House race Carr exited.

The County Democratic Central Committee can appoint a Democrat to fill the empty ballot spot left by Carr in the District 18 race. But other seismic shifts on the election game board Friday will affect the 2022 Election through the July primary and beyond.

Carr brings name recognition and a lengthy resume in public service to the District 4 race. Prior to last night, Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart was the only high-profile elected official in the Democratic primary for that reshaped district, which now stretches from south Rockville to Stewart's home base. Carr served on the Kensington Town Council prior to his three terms in the House of Delegates. Amy Ginsburg, who is known for her leadership of the Friends of White Flint; Troy Murtha; and John F. Zittrauer are also running in the District 4 Democratic contest.

Stewart got off to a strong start in her first mayoral term, and political observers have expected her to be a formidable candidate for higher offices as a result. She couldn't entirely avoid controversy as leader of the most politically-active area of Montgomery County, the Takoma Junction uproar and her defense of a city screening of a documentary that many considered anti-Semitic chief among them. But executive experience is always a strong selling point in elections, and Stewart has spent seven years running a high-profile municipality, with all of the responsbilities that entails.

Carr has the advantage of having been engaged on neighborhood and pocketbook issues over a larger geographic area in recent years. His efforts to assist Maryland residents facing exorbitant EZ-Pass late fees, while cracking down on out-of-state toll scofflaws, made national news last year. Carr also introduced a bill to increase transparency at the increasingly-controversial Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County.

The lone Republican in the District 4 race, Cheryl Riley, only finds herself there now due to the new district map boundaries. Riley's sorting into District 4 now leaves District 1 without a Republican challenger to incumbent Andrew Friedson. If the County GOP Central Committee doesn't nominate a Republican, Friedson will be unopposed in the November election. An appointee will also be needed for the fourth spot in the Republican primary race for County Council At-Large.

There are Republicans in all the other Council district races, though. Dan Cuda is running in District 2, George Hernandez in District 3, Riley in District 4, Kate Woody in District 5, Viet Doan in District 6, and Harold Maldonado in District 7. If Doan were victorious in November, he would be the first Asian-American to be elected to the County Council.

District 4 now joins District 6 as the contests-to-watch for politics addicts. Just as the District 4 race includes two prominent elected officials, District 6 Democratic candidates include former County Planning Board commissioner Natali Fani-Gonzalez and former Maryland Delegate Maricé Morales. Both former public officials also have resumes beyond public service. Fani-Gonzalez worked for CASA de Maryland and SEIU Local 32BJ, and now is an executive with the Matea Group. Morales is an attorney with a law practice in Rockville, and also serves on the boards of Montgomery College and Emerge Maryland.

Another high-profile member of the community running as a Democrat in District 6 is Omar Lazo, owner of the popular Los Chorros restaurant in Wheaton. Lazo is also on the Board of Trustees of Montgomery College, as well as serving on the Board of the Wheaton & Kensington Chamber of Commerce, the Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee, the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Latino Democratic Club, and on the Board of the Fund for Montgomery. 

Kemp Mill resident Brit Siman-Tov was driven to enter the District 6 race this month by the Council's pandemic business closures and mask policies, and the councilmembers' brief flirtation with the idea of a vaccine mandate. Former WTEM 980 radio producer and personality and current podcaster Steve Solomon is also in the District 6 contest. Republican Doan and Democrats Christa Tichy, Mark Trullinger and Vicki Vergagni round out the candidates in District 6.

The new District 6 includes Aspen Hill, Forest Glen, Glenmont, Kemp Mill, Kensington Heights, parts of Rockville, and Wheaton.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Tom Hucker withdraws from Montgomery County Executive race to run for County Council At-Large

The Montgomery County Executive race saw a dramatic turn of events as the candidate filing deadline passed Friday night. According to the Maryland State Board of Elections, County Councilmember Tom Hucker (D - District 5) has withdrawn from the County Executive race, and has filed to run for County Council At-Large instead. Hucker was eligible to run for one more term in District 5, under the County term limits law.

Hucker's exit probably benefits incumbent executive Marc Elrich the most, as Hucker was - in relative terms - the closest aligned with Elrich on a Council that has an often-contentious relationship with the executive office. County Councilmember Hans Riemer may get a boost as well, from progressives who oppose Elrich and wanted someone new. Hucker's entry into the executive race never made much sense anyway, as he had a safe seat for one more term, and Elrich and Riemer were already blocking both of his ideological lanes in the Democratic primary.

Photo via Montgomery County Council

Sneak peek: J. Hollinger's in Silver Spring (Photos)

J. Hollinger's Waterman's Chophouse
 will be opening soon at 8601 Georgia Avenue in the Lee Plaza building in downtown Silver Spring. They're putting the finishing touches on the interior. Here's a sneak peek inside the new steakhouse from the owner of popular Montgomery County restaurants The Daily Dish and The Dish and Dram. The bar and gleaming kitchen (in the background) are visible, as is an inviting and upscale entryway.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

South County Regional Recreation and Aquatic Center construction update (Photos)

The progress on the South County Regional Recreation and Aquatic Center and Elizabeth Square appears to move at a glacial pace, even though the project is still on-target for a spring 2023 delivery. But aside from the blue and yellow treatment of the aquatic center facade, it looks very similar from the outside to its appearance in my last update in December. The public amenities will join Elizabeth House III and IV for a grand total of 907 new apartment units - some specifically for seniors - at the corner of 2nd and Apple Avenues in downtown Silver Spring.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Surveillance robots begin watching over downtown Silver Spring

At least two surveillance robots have been installed in downtown Silver Spring. They are not discreet, as they are about a building story in height, and have blue lights that are visible blocks away. One is in the median in the 8200 block of Georgia Avenue. A second is at the future Purple Line station at the Silver Spring Library. Found in recent years in CVS Pharmacy and Walmart parking lots, the robots can be configured with several functions, including remote-view cameras, license plate readers, thermal sensors, and audio speakers.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Wheaton Target renovations update

The major renovations at the Target at Wheaton Plaza even include a new exterior sign. It will be interesting to see if it is a new version of the logo. Here you can see the preparations being made for installation of the new sign on the building. It's giving off Amazon Fresh vibes at the moment, only taller.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Update on The Breakfast Club in Silver Spring (Photos)

Let's take a look at the construction progress inside of Papa Sherman's The Breakfast Club at 8240 Fenton Street in downtown Silver Spring. Most of the work has been adding various moldings to the walls, and painting. The walls currently have a tan-creme-dark brown color scheme. There are not any tables or seating in place yet. The Breakfast Club has missed the March opening target, but as you can see, construction is proceeding at the latest dining concept from Jason Miskiri.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Two Hands Corn Dogs opens at Wheaton Plaza (Photos)

Two Hands Corn Dogs
has opened at Westfield's Wheaton Plaza mall. This is the chain's third location in our region. Look for the many wonderful flavors of this Korean-style corn dog in the center of Level 2 at the mall.