Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Ellsworth Place touts security team amid Silver Spring crime wave

Ellsworth Place
mall at 8661 Colesville Road is hoping to reassure patrons at a time when crime in downtown Silver Spring is regularly making headlines and TV news material. In an Instagram post, the mall touts its recent hire of a new private security firm to patrol the property. "Cognizance Protection is a premier protection and security services firm with a vast network of highly trained and vetted protection specialists," the post says. "It's under the leadership of a decorated detective with the Montgomery County Police Department. We're doing our best to protect our #1 priority - YOU!" Montgomery County Government has just placed a surveillance camera on Ellsworth Drive outside the mall.

Photo courtesy Ellsworth Place

Monday, January 30, 2023

Montgomery County installs surveillance camera at downtown Silver Spring intersection (Photos)

Montgomery County has installed a new surveillance tower camera system at the intersection of Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street in downtown Silver Spring. The intersection is a busy one, with the Downtown Silver Spring development and Ellsworth Place mall on either side. It also happens to be the intersection where several muscle car drivers were filmed doing donuts this past Saturday night, and reportedly were allowed to drive away without penalty or arrest. The indicator light atop the new surveillance unit was not flashing last evening, suggesting the camera was not yet active.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Notre Dame recruiter headed to Good Counsel today

Notre Dame football defensive coordinator Al Golden will be on a recruiting trip in the Washington, D.C. area today, and Sports Illustrated reports that one of his stops will be Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney. That's where heavily-recruited linebacker Aaron Chiles plays for the Falcons defense. "He's a prospect the Irish staff is very high on," SI's Bryan Driskell reports, "but Notre Dame has some making up to do with the talented backer." Chiles has already received offers from at least 34 colleges, so he will be in the catbird seat for this decision.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Police investigate shots-fired incident in Burtonsville

Montgomery County police received reports from residents that they heard gunfire in the vicinity of a park in Burtonsville early yesterday morning, January 25, 2023. The shots were heard in the 14200 block of Ballinger Terrace at 2:30 AM Wednesday. That appears to be the wooded area around Lake of Kings and Boot Lake behind the townhomes there.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Police seek suspects in Tobacco Cloud break-in in Wheaton (Photos)

Montgomery County police are seeking the public's assistance in identifying and locating two suspects in the burglary of Tobacco Cloud in Wheaton on Friday, January 13, 2023 at 5:19 AM. At that time, a burglar alarm in the store triggered a police response. Officers determined that two male suspects had forced entry to the store, and then stole an undisclosed amount of merchandise. Detectives have now released surveillance photos of the two suspects.

Anyone with information regarding these suspects or this crime is asked to call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).  A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of the suspects. Callers can remain anonymous. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Strong-arm robbery in Takoma Park

Takoma Park police are investigating a strong-arm robbery that took place on January 22, 2023, at approximately 10:15 AM. The male victim was walking southbound in the 8600 block of Flower Avenue. A green Nissan Pathfinder with North Carolina tags pulled up alongside him and stopped. One man and one woman exited the vehicle and approached the victim.

The male suspect implied he was holding a knife, and took property from the victim. Both suspects then climbed back into the Pathfinder, drove southbound on Flower Avenue, and then sped off eastbound on Domer Avenue.

The suspects are described as a "white Hispanic" male, 5'5, heavy-set, mid-40's, with black hair, and a "white Hispanic" female, 5'8, slim build, mid-20's, with blonde hair. This investigation is ongoing under Case #230003558.  Anyone with information about this crime is asked to please call us at 301-270-1100.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Montgomery County Executive condemns weekend anti-Semitic incidents

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) strongly condemned a series of anti-Semitic incidents across the county this past weekend in a statement. Swastikas were found on desks in three public schools, and flyers targeting several Jewish families were distributed in Kensington. Elrich revealed that, unlike many of the other incidents in recent years, perpetrators of the desk graffiti were identified and have been disciplined by Montgomery County Public Schools. Police are investigating the flyer incident to determine if it qualifies as a hate crime, Elrich said.

Elrich said he is glad the school cases were resolved quickly, but that this "does not heal the pain that these schools are dealing with." He added that, rather than divide the community as intended, the incidents have only had the effect of "generating more support for our Jewish neighbors." 

"We are united and are showing those who are pedaling (sic) hate that these antisemitic attempts at community disruption won't be tolerated," Elrich said. "Montgomery County is home to one of the most diverse areas in the nation. We are proud of that diversity and antisemitic activities do not reflect our community values. It’s not the Montgomery way."

Friday, January 20, 2023

Indecent exposure in Silver Spring

Montgomery County police were called to a store in downtown Silver Spring after an indecent exposure incident Wednesday, January 18, 2023. The incident was reported at a store in the 8500 block of Fenton Street at 11:38 AM. A suspect was also accused of shoplifting related to the same incident.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Maryland Governor Wes Moore looks beyond history to "a state that leaves no one behind" in inauguration speech

The inauguration of Wes Moore (D) as Governor of Maryland was a slightly more star-studded affair than those of his outgoing predecessor, Larry Hogan (R). For starters, Moore was introduced by Oprah Winfrey. Behind her in the grandstand seating area overlooking Lawyers' Mall in Annapolis was Chelsea Clinton. But Moore made a point of recognizing Hogan. Turning to the former governor, Moore said, "we are grateful and thankful for the kindness that you and your team have shown throughout this entire transition period. Thank you for eight years of great service to a state that we both love." Moore then paused deliberately, and the crowd stood to give Hogan a standing ovation.

Calling one-time Baltimore TV news anchor Winfrey a "Maryland girl at heart," Moore thanked her "for always being in my corner." He also recognized his wife and children. And then Moore became the first African-American to deliver an inaugural speech as governor of Maryland. 

The historic nature of the moment could not be ignored. Moore took an oath of office earlier Wednesday with his hand on a bible belonging to Frederick Douglass. Noting that he was speaking blocks away from the Annapolis city docks where African slaves once arrived, Moore recalled the "uneven and unimaginable progress" African-Americans have made since then. 

But Maryland is also a state "where anything is possible," Moore added in welcoming his Jamaican immigrant mother and the Indian immigrant mother of his Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller to another standing ovation. On her own history-making road to the second-highest statewide office in Maryland, Miller was sworn in with her hand on a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, the most-revered of Hindu texts.

Shifting his focus to the present and future, Moore said "this journey has never been about making history. It's about marching forward. Today is not an idictment of our past. Today is a celebration of our collective future." Nodding to the balancing act he will have to perform between the many interest groups making expensive demands of his new administration, and maintaining the state's relatively-solid fiscal standing, Moore spoke of being "disciplined" and "making hard choices." 

The new governor asked how it could be that a state with such revenue could also be a state where one in eight children live in poverty, and 250,000 people lack health insurance. In a zero-sum perspective of winners and losers, "we've come to expect that the people who have lost will keep losing," Moore said. "We must refuse to accept that," Moore declared, punctuating each word with a strike of his palm on the podium. 

Moore spoke of the need to improve the state's business climate, and to attract aerospace, clean energy, and cybersecurity firms. Hogan was successful in bringing a Hitachi rail car factory to Hagerstown, a Greenland Technologies electric vehicle plant to White Marsh, and a United Safety Technology medical supply factory to Baltimore. But Montgomery County hasn't attracted a major corporate headquarters in over 25 years, and has lost several of the few Fortune 500 companies it had during that time.

Such economic growth needs to be balanced with higher wages and security for workers, Moore argued. "Maryland can be the best place in America for employers and employees," he said.

Noting rising crime across the state, Moore said "many Marylanders have grown weary in their faith that governments can actually keep them safe." But he vowed, "we cannot and will not militarize ourselves to safety," and pointed to the fact that "Maryland encarcerates more black boys than any other state in this country." He said he is a governor who "knows what it feels like to have handcuffs on my wrists...I felt that when I was 11 years old. I also know what it's like to stand with families and mourn the victims of violent crime. We do not have to choose between being a safe state and a just one."

Moore promised Maryland will run on 100% clean energy by 2035, and create thousands of jobs in the process, by focusing on wind power. He said not every child needs to go to college to be successful, citing his path of military service and community college. "I think things worked out pretty well," he added.

Like many inaugural speeches, Moore's was short on actual policies and expense numbers. One specific plan he identified was creating a service year option for high school graduates. He also promised to be successful despite skeptics who say he will be unable to overcome "toxic partisanship." There is no such obstacle in Annapolis, however, as Democrats control every office and chamber of state government. Moore's actual challenge will be to reign in the aspirations of his own party, after eight years of the Hogan administration. And even Hogan was unable to block much of the Democrats' agenda during that time.

Recognizing that position of near-total power, Moore promised that "we have a unique place and space to do something special." Moore is in a unique and powerful position himself, to leverage a successful gubernatorial term and sparkling resume into not-so-distant future presidential campaign conversations, in a party that has had difficulty finding the next John F. Kennedy or Barack Obama in its youthful ranks since 2016.

"Now is the opportunity we have to march forward, and to march together," Moore concluded. "And let us march on 'til victory is won. Today is not the victory. Today is the opportunity. It is our opportunity to lead with love. It is our opportunity to create with compassion. It's our opportunity to fight fearlessly for our future. Maryland, our time is right now. Our time is now to build a state that, for those who came before us, that they fought for, and it's a state that leaves no one behind. This is not a slogan. It is the fulfillment of a hope. Maryland, it's time, let's lead, and let's do it together. God bless you all, and thank you so much."

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Gulf station closes in downtown Silver Spring (Photos)

The Gulf gas station at 8600 Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring has closed...again. You may recall it closed back in February 2018, when it was expected to be demolished and replaced with a hotel. But then it reopened, and the hotel plan seemed to slide into development hell. 

This time, however, the gas pumps have been removed. That doesn't necessarily mean the station won't reopen, as they could just be installing new ones. And that may be the case here, as when I searched online, I found that Source of the Spring is reporting the station may be converting to an Exxon. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Artist sought for Gene Lynch Urban Park in Silver Spring

The Montgomery Parks department is seeking a local artist to create a public art installation at the new Gene Lynch Urban Park, located at 8410 Colesville Road in downtown Silver Spring. It's a prime spot near the Silver Spring Transit Center, which could provide a lot of exposure for the winning artist (just think of how famous the reptilian Purple Line mural and the Silver Spring Metro penguins became over the last decade). The deadline for submissions is March 10, 2023. Everything you need to know to apply is here.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Takoma Park police impound evidence from Saturday night gunfire

Takoma Park police received several 911 calls around 11:38 PM Saturday night regarding four to five gunshots that were heard on 4th Avenue and on Eastern Avenue. Officers canvassed the area, but located no evidence at that time. However, last evening prior to 7:00 PM, a resident located several shell casings, as well as an unspent bullet in the area. 

Police have impounded the physical evidence, and are continuing their investigation. If you have any information about this incident, you are asked to contact police at 301-270-1100 and refer to case #230002314.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Alleged downtown Silver Spring gunfighter arrested

One of two men who allegedly engaged in a Wild West-style gunfight on the streets of downtown Silver Spring last fall is now in custody, Montgomery County police announced yesterday.  Keshawn Simpson, 26, of Silver Spring was arrested on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. Simpson had been located on December 16, 2022, but allegedly "fled" as an officer attempted to make a traffic stop of his vehicle.

Simpson and a second black male allegedly shot at each other at the intersection of Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street at 10:36 AM on October 24, 2022. The second suspect remains at large. Simpson has been charged with first degree assault and firearm related charges. He is currently being held without bond.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Armed carjacking in Takoma Park

Takoma Park police are investigating the latest armed carjacking to take place at a Montgomery County gas station. Late yesterday morning at 11:44 AM, Takoma Park police were called to a gas station in the 6400 block of New Hampshire Avenue after a male victim reported his vehicle had been taken at gunpoint. 

The victim told police that he left his BMW X6 locked but with the motor running outside while going into the station's convenience store. He saw a black Dodge Charger enter the gas station and park nearby. When the victim emerged from the store, he found a 6'3" black man wearing black clothing and a black ski mask attempting to open the door of the X6. The victim apparently attempted to run away, but was chased by the suspect, who pointed a handgun at him and demanded his key fob and wallet. He complied, and the suspect fled in the X6 south on New Hampshire, followed closely by the Dodge Charger.

Anyone with information on this incident should contact the Takoma Park Police Department at 301-270-1100 and refer to case #230001695.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Victim robbed at knifepoint at Silver Spring restaurant; 3 stabbed in separate McDonald's attack

Montgomery County police responded to a report of an armed robbery at a downtown Silver Spring restaurant Monday night, January 9, 2023. The victim was robbed at knifepoint at a restaurant in the 1100 block of Wayne Avenue at 7:24 PM. Just the next morning, three people were stabbed at the McDonald's at 8407 Colesville Road. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Big South Freshman of the Year transfers to University of Maryland

Silver Spring native Kat Parris

Silver Spring native Kat Parris, the women's soccer Big South Freshman of the Year, is coming home to Maryland. After two successful years playing for Radford University in Virginia, Parris will be a Terp at the University of Maryland at College Park, where she'll begin training this spring. Maryland Women's Soccer head coach Meghan Ryan Nemzer made the transfer announcement in a press release yesterday.

Photo courtesy University of Maryland

Monday, January 9, 2023

Church window smashed in Takoma Park

Takoma Park police responded to an incident of vandalism at a church yesterday morning. Police say rocks were thrown through a stained glass window at the Bright Light Baptist Church at 7300 New Hampshire Avenue sometime between late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. They are asking anyone with information about this incident to call the Takoma Park Police Department at 301-270-1100, and refer to case #230001043.

Friday, January 6, 2023

Purple Line station construction set to begin at Silver Spring Library

The Maryland Transit Administration announced that construction of the Purple Line light rail station at the Brigadier General Charles E. McGee Library will begin on or about January 23, 2023. Access to the library itself, and to nearby businesses, will be maintained at all times, the MTA said. ADA-compliant access will be maintained from Wayne Avenue and Fenton Street. 

First, contractors will install safety fencing around the work area. That will be followed by excavation, utility relocation, systems installation, and the laying of track, in that order. Work will be performed between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM on weekdays and weekends, as needed. Construction of the library Purple Line stop is expected to be completed by December 2023, although train service is not expected to begin for several years after that.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Attempted armed carjacking in Takoma Park

A would-be carjacking victim took a chance, and managed to outwit two robbers who threatened him with a handgun at the Falcon Fuel gas station at 925 University Boulevard E in Takoma Park at 2:50 PM on Tuesday, January 3, 2023. Takoma Park police say they were contacted by the victim several hours later at 6:45 PM. The male victim reported that he had been filling his car with gas and cleaning out the interior, when two men allegedly approached and threatened him with a black handgun.

Asked to hand over his car keys, the victim instead ran into the station's convenience store. From inside the store, he saw the men attempt to hotwire his vehicle. Unable to start the victim's car, the suspects fled the scene in a white Nissan sedan on University, toward New Hampshire Avenue.

Police say they have surveillance video from the gas station. They describe the two suspects as a black male, last seen wearing a Nike ski mask, black sweater, black pants, and black shoes with white soles; and a second black male, last seen wearing a black hoodie and blue jeans.

Investigation continues under case #230000393.  Anyone with information about this crime is asked to please call Takoma Park police at 301-270-1100.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Armed carjacking in Hillandale

Montgomery County police responded to a report of an armed carjacking in the Hillandale area of Silver Spring, just north of the Capital Beltway, on Sunday afternoon, January 1, 2022. The carjacking was reported in a commercial parking lot in the 10200 block of New Hampshire Avenue at 3:18 PM Sunday. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Black Lion Cafe Silver Spring opening delayed

Black Lion Cafe
at 8240-A Fenton Street in Silver Spring had been scheduled to open yesterday, January 2. The cafe announced the opening has been postponed, but did not specify the reason. No new opening date has been given, but I will post when it is announced. Some potential customers reported seeing people inside; alas, those were employees undergoing training.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Assault at Wheaton Plaza

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a 2nd-degree assault at Westfield's Wheaton Plaza mall yesterday afternoon. The assault was reported at the mall at 3:48 PM Sunday.