Monday, July 31, 2023

Antojitos Santa Elena 2 opens in Wheaton

Antojitos Santa Elena 2
has opened at 2610 University Boulevard W. in Wheaton. Dishes from Antojitos Santa Elena 1, a Salvadoran restaurant at the Randolph Crossing shopping center, are available at a counter at the rear. The front of the business is a convenience store and gift shop.

Toy Depot, Cozy open at Wheaton Plaza

Toy Depot
and Cozy have opened at Westfield's Wheaton Plaza mall. Toy Depot isn't a toy store quite on the scale of Toys R Us or KB Toys, but carries products licensed from popular characters and franchises like Marvel and Disney. Apparel boutique Cozy takes the place of a recently-departed sneaker store.

Firehouse Subs, Sarku Japan, Shoe Depot Encore opening at Wheaton Plaza

Firehouse Subs
and Shoe Dept. Encore are coming soon to Westfield's Wheaton Plaza mall. And speaking of encores, Sarku Japan will be making a triumphant return to the mall, across from Costco. One of the most popular and well-reviewed rivals of Subway, Firehouse will be located next to Grill Kabob. Shoe Dept. Encore carries shoes, handbags and accessories for men, women and children. It will be found across from Foot Locker.

Sabor Mixteco Taqueria opening in Wheaton

Sabor Mixteco Taqueria
is coming soon to 2460 Ennalls Avenue in the Wheaton Triangle. The menu's specialties will include Oaxacan-style taquizas and parrilladas. Sabor Mixteco has nearly a decade in operation as a catering business, and is now branching out into this bricks-and-mortar restaurant location. It will be next door to Kantutas on Ennalls Avenue.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Utility work causes road closures in Wheaton (Photos + Video)

Westbound University Boulevard was closed at Grandview Avenue in Wheaton early this evening for emergency utility work. Utility crews were working to restore power after Saturday afternoon's storm. It looks like an out-of-state crew was helping out Pepco. A similiar scene is taking place on Bushey Drive at Randolph Road in the Wheaton-Glenmont area. Bushey is closed at Randolph.

Bushey Drive at Randolph Road

Aspen Hill, Kensington, Wheaton, Olney among hardest hit by power outages after Saturday's storm

Pepco crews staging at the 7-Eleven store
on River Road in Bethesda this morning

Over 10,000 Pepco customers remain without power this morning in Montgomery County, but that number is down about 60,000 from the height of last evening's thunderstorm damage. The weather event, and resulting tree and power line damage, has been one of the few significant tests for Pepco since the electric utility was acquired by Exelon in 2016. Yesterday's storm appeared deceptively routine for late summer, but spawned straight line winds in areas like North Bethesda and Rockville, and had some in Northwest Washington, D.C. reporting a tornado in their community.

Southwest Bethesda neighborhoods like Springfield, Sumner, Wood Acres, Bannockburn and Spring Hill are still experiencing significant power outages. Grid resiliency issues reared their head again in the Westbard area long after skies had cleared Saturday night. Residents there who were fortunate enough to retain power after the storm last night report experiencing brownouts at 2:12 AM and 4:32 AM. The 4:32 AM brownout was an extended one, as after a split-second blackout that ravaged appliance motors, light fixtures were shimmering and flickering until all power was lost around 4:45 AM. Power was then restored around 4:48 AM. Interestingly, both brownout episodes reported seem to coincide with brand new power outages in the Westbard and Wood Acres/Searl Terrace areas, which the Pepco outage map indicates were reported at 2:15 AM (Searl Terrace) and 4:53 AM (Westbard Avenue). This morning's brownouts follow three sunny day brownouts in the Westbard area two weeks ago.

In North Bethesda, apartment building residents reported being in the dark Saturday night, and outages persist around Grosvenor, Garrett Park, Tilden Lane, Randolph Hills and the Randolph Road corridor this morning. Things aren't looking much better in the Twinbrook and Rollins Park areas of Rockville.

Aspen Hill is still smarting today with many outages. Fortunately for those without air conditioning, today's high will "only" be 85 degrees, instead of the 99 degree peak experienced last Friday. Outages also persist around Leisure World, Bel Pre Road, Wheaton, Kensington, Kemp Mill, Takoma Park, Hillandale, Colesville and Fairland. 

The storm appears to have cut a straight path across Montgomery Village, Goshen, and Laytonsville, judging from the large number of outages there. Outages remain in the Kentlands, Montgomery College-Germantown campus, Olney and Sandy Spring areas. 

Friday, July 28, 2023

Axe-wielding burglars attempt to break into Olney Exxon station

Montgomery County police are seeking the public's help in identifying and locating two would-be burglars who attempted to break into the Olney Exxon station at 18000 Georgia Avenue twice in early July. Their first effort began around 2:36 AM on Sunday, July 2, 2023, with the hurling of a rock at the window of the station's convenience store. After the attempt to break the glass to gain entry failed, they fled.

On Friday, July 7 at 1:49 AM, they returned with an axe. One of the suspects struck the door of the convenience store with the axe, but again failed to gain access.

Police are describing the suspects as two white males, between the ages of 15 and 21-years-old. They were wearing all black clothing, and their faces were covered with t-shirts, detectives say.

Detectives are asking for anyone with information regarding this crime or the suspects involved 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 may remain anonymous.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Montgomery County police deploy new stealth police cruisers for Vision Zero traffic enforcement

Starting today, there are two more reasons to obey the speed limit. Montgomery County police have deployed two new "slick top" cruisers as of this morning, July 27, 2023. Both new Dodge Charger models are designed with stealthy features to avoid premature detection by leadfoot or texting drivers. They each have lights inside the top of the windshield and rear window, rather than on the roof. The "ghost graphics" model has nearly-invisible MCPD markings on its exterior, which are very subtle in the daytime, but are highly-reflective at night.

MCPD says both cruisers are being deployed for Vision Zero traffic enforcement. Officers driving them will be on the lookout for drivers who are speeding, texting while driving, not wearing seatbelts, driving impaired or driving aggressively. Both will be driven by Central Traffic Unit officers, who will be in full uniform.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Prince George's County officials endorse Will Jawando for U.S. Senate in Maryland

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando announced four new endorsements from elected officials in Prince George's County this morning, in his campaign for the Maryland U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Ben Cardin in January 2025. Laurel City Councilmembers Martin Mitchell and Carl Dewalt, Colmar Manor Mayor Monica Casañas, and Mount Rainier Mayor Celina Benitez joined Jawando for a press conference in Laurel to make the announcement. The Democratic electorate in Prince George's is key to victory in any statewide race.

Councilmember Mitchell zeroed in on a central Jawando campaign theme in his endorsement statement. “From his work on the County Council to stabilize rents to his commitment to introduce a Universal Basic Income program in the U.S. Senate, it is clear to me that Will Jawando is the only true progressive in this race," Mitchell said. "We need a new generation of leaders in every part of our government — ones that will prioritize voting rights, action on climate change, and a vision of equity for all. That’s why I’m proud to stand by Will in his race to be Maryland’s next U.S. Senator.”

Mayor Casañas also echoed Jawando's effort to claim the progressive lane in the race, which has been left open by the decision of Congressman Jamie Raskin to pass on the 2024 Senate contest.  “As a community activist, I know that the only option in this race is Will Jawando," she said. "I have had the honor of working alongside Will Jawando on the Montgomery County Council to promote and advance English literacy in adult communities. Will is a partner in building equity and opportunity for marginalized communities and that’s exactly what he will do in the U.S. Senate.”

Jawando's recent role in the passing of rent stabilization in Montgomery County was mentioned by several of the endorsers, including Councilmember Dewalt. “I’ve spent a career working on behalf of the citizens of Laurel, both as a police officer and now as the Councilmember for Ward 1," Dewalt said. "Will has delivered for his constituents in Montgomery County time and time again; his efficacy as a legislator is unparalleled, look only to his recent success in passing rent stabilization in the largest county in Maryland. I look forward to working with him when he is elected to be our next U.S. Senator.”

“I am so proud to earn the endorsements of Councilmembers Mitchell and Dewalt and Mayors Casañas and Benitez," Jawando said in a statement. While I have been honored to serve on the Montgomery Council Council for the past 5 years, the truth is that there’s so much more to Maryland in addition to Montgomery County – and my expanding progressive coalition spans across the state. Prince George’s County is a beautiful bastion of diversity, economic development, and some of Maryland’s best.

“I intend to win this race by bringing together all the communities that make our state great, spanning across racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic lines. These endorsements today help demonstrate our campaign’s strength in this regard, and over the next few months, I will continue to show that this message resonates with all Marylanders.

“As we continue to expand my coalition, I plan to travel all across the state and take no vote for granted. Our vision for Maryland’s future will lift everyone up, no matter your ZIP Code. I look forward to working alongside all of these excellent public servants between now and election day.”

Pickpocket strikes at Wheaton bus stop

Watch your wallet in the Wheaton Triangle area. Montgomery County police were called to a bus stop in the 11100 block of Georgia Avenue at 4:27 AM this past Sunday morning, July 23, 2023. The complaintant reported having their pocket picked.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

New Hampshire Gardens traffic concerns to be discussed at July 31 meeting in Takoma Park

Concerns about traffic issues in the New Hampshire Gardens area will be heard at a public meeting scheduled for July 31, 2023 at 7:00 PM at the Takoma Park Recreation Center at 7315 New Hampshire Avenue. You can also participate virtually through Zoom by registering online prior to the meeting. Representatives from the City of Takoma Park Police Department, Public Works, and City Planning office will give a presentation and be available to answer questions, followed by a Q & A Session.

Monday, July 24, 2023

McDonald's Cookies & Creme Pie arrives in Montgomery County

There's a new addition to the dessert menu at McDonald's in Montgomery County. The Cookies & Creme Pie features a baked chocolate crust, with a creme filling that also holds Oreo-style chocolate cookie pieces. This pie is reportedly not available in every market across the country, so we were fortunate to be one of those to have it. The pie will be available for a limited time only, as will the Oreo Frappe.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Third Hill Brewing Co. opens in downtown Silver Spring

Third Hill Brewing Co.
is now open at 8216 Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring. It has filled the building recently vacated by Astro Lab Brewing. Third Hill's current selections include a Key Lime-and-grapefruit-raspberry Funtime Seltzer, Scientist Pale Ale, and its first Berliner Weisse. Operating hours are 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM Thursdays and Fridays, 1:00 PM to 10:00 PM Saturdays, 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM Sundays, and closed on Mondays.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Uniqlo construction update at Downtown Silver Spring (Photos)

Construction is inching along inside the future Uniqlo store at 914 Ellsworth Drive at Downtown Silver Spring. Since my last update, structure for shelving along the walls has been installed. It also looks like wood flooring has been laid down. Can the Japanese apparel store cross the finish line before summer ends? Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Town Square garage to switch payment methods in downtown Silver Spring July 31

The Town Square Public Parking Garage 61 at 786 Ellsworth Drive in downtown Silver Spring will change payment methods at the end of the month. According to a sign outside the Montgomery County-owned-and-operated garage, "on or about July 31, 2023 this facility will be changed to Pay Stations." The new system will be "pay by plate." 

You can watch a Montgomery County Department of Transportation Division of Parking Management video to learn in advance how to use the new pay-by-plate system. Mobile payment will be available following the conversion through Parkmobile and Passport. To use mobile payment, enter the seven digit zone number (3610001), enter your license plate, choose your duration and begin the session.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Is this the end for MOD Pizza in Silver Spring?

MOD Pizza
has been closed for a couple of months at the Ellsworth Place mall in downtown Silver Spring. There's been no updated message in the window, only the same "we're currently close (sic) due to plumming (sic)" sign that's been there all along. The windows are covered with brown paper, but the sign is still up, and there is still some MOD Pizza stuff inside. There hasn't been a "plumming" job this big since the Walmart closures that sparked conspiracy theories elsewhere in America.

Monday, July 17, 2023

3 cars stolen from White Oak apartment complexes

Montgomery County police are investigating the thefts of three vehicles from garden apartment complexes in White Oak over the weekend. The first vehicle was reported stolen on July 15, 2023 from an apartment complex in the 1500 block November Circle at 8:36 AM. A second vehicle was reported stolen from the same complex later that day at 4:33 PM. Early the next morning, police were informed of the theft of a third vehicle from the apartments in the 11400 block of July Drive at 12:55 AM.

Friday, July 14, 2023

Signage installed at new Starbucks in downtown Silver Spring

A quick update on the new Starbucks opening soon at 1316 East-West Highway at The Blairs Shops in Silver Spring. Signage has been installed on the storefront. As of last night, it was already lit. Before you know it, you will be drinking your first PSL of 2023 at this Starbucks.

Awdamet Market opens in downtown Silver Spring

Awdamet Market
has opened at 8202 Georgia Avenue in downtown Silver Spring. The Ethiopian market replaces 7-Eleven in this space. Yesterday was the first day of the store's soft opening. You can find standard American convenience store items, snacks and groceries, as well as Ethiopian specialties.