Thursday, November 30, 2023

Silver Spring Taco Bell thief makes drive-thru window a break-in window (Photos)

Montgomery County police are seeking the public's help in identifying and locating a suspect in the October 30, 2023 burglary of a KFC-Taco Bell restaurant at 7720 Blair Road in Silver Spring. Around 5:00 AM that morning, the suspect allegedly forced open the drive-thru window of the restaurant, grabbed merchandise of undisclosed value within the reach of his arms, and fled the scene. Surveillance video shows the alleged crime in progress.

Police describe the suspect as a Black male, approximately 30-years-old, and wearing a red jacket. Anyone with information regarding the suspect or this crime is asked to visit the Crime Solvers of Montgomery County, MD website at and click on the “” link at the top of the page or call 1-866-411-8477.  A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of the suspect. Tipsters may remain anonymous.  

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

5 juveniles arrested in Calverton armed robbery

Montgomery County police have arrested five juvenile suspects they allege were involved in the October 4, 2023 armed robbery on Galway Road in the Calverton area of Silver Spring. At 9:34 PM that evening, the male victim was exiting a bus in the 12400 block of Galway when he was grabbed from behind by several people. He was punched multiple times, and one of the suspects then allegedly held a knife to him, and demanded his cellphone and AirPods. The victim complied, and the suspects fled on foot.

Three males, and two females, between the ages of 12 and 15 were arrested by police between November 6 and November 10. All five have now been charged as juveniles with armed robbery and assault. Their cases have been referred to the Department of Juvenile Services.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Blind Guardian to start 2024 North American tour in Silver Spring

German power metal band Blind Guardian announced its 2024 "The God Machine" tour of North America this morning. What's notable is that the band has decided to start the tour at The Fillmore in Silver Spring on April 18, 2024. Night Demon will be the opening act. Tickets for the Fillmore show go on sale this Friday, December 1, 2023, but presales begin November 30 at 10:00 AM EST.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Assault reported at Silver Spring nursing home

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a 2nd-degree assault at a nursing home in Silver Spring late yesterday afternoon, November 26, 2023. The assault was reported at a nursing home in the 2000 block of East-West Highway at 5:30 PM Sunday.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Silver Spring Outback Steakhouse update (Photos)

Here's a look at the status of the construction of Outback Steakhouse at Ellsworth Place mall in downtown Silver Spring. The interior looks close to complete. More Australia and Outback-themed artwork has been installed on the walls of the dining area. I like the Blooming Onion piece. The advanced state of construction made last week's announcement of a January 2024 opening a bit surprising, but that was the official word from the mall's ownership.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Strong-arm robbery at Wheaton Metro station

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a strong-arm robbery at the Wheaton Metro station this past Monday afternoon, November 20, 2023. The robbery was reported at the station's parking garage at 3:31 PM Monday.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Montgomery County Board of Elections votes to not follow anyone on social media

Montgomery County Board of Elections
President David A. Naimon

The Montgomery County Board of Elections voted unanimously yesterday to not follow anyone on social media, part of a new social media policy the board passed via that vote. While the board encourages residents, voters and political candidates to follow its accounts on social media, commissioners decided that its own accounts should not follow anyone, and should not "like" social media posts. The board said it made the policy change to emphasize its commitment to free and fair elections, and equal treatment of all candidates and ballot question debates. 

“As a non-partisan organization, the Board must ensure that all candidates, political parties and voters are treated fairly and that no candidate or supporter or opponent of a ballot question receives or is perceived to receive preferential treatment,” Board President David A. Naimon said in a statement after the vote. “The mission of the Board is simple - - free, fair, and transparent elections for all candidates and voters.”

For official information about the 2024 elections, including how to register to vote and/or volunteer to serve as an election worker, follow the Montgomery County Board of Elections on X at @777vote (, on Facebook at, or on Instagram at Information also continues to be available on the BOE website at, and by phone at 240-777-8500.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Downtown Silver Spring Giant to add EV charging stations

The Giant at 1280 East-West Highway will add two electric vehicle charging stations outside the store at the Blair Park Shopping Center, located in downtown Silver Spring. Giant began a partnership with Volta Charging to provide EV charging stations at its stores in 2020. The alliance was expected to eventually deliver more than 200 charging stations at the Ahold-owned supermarket chain's locations.  “Providing our shoppers and communities free electric charging services is part of Giant’s larger sustainability efforts,” Giant Food President Ira Kress said in a statement. “We are excited to offer our customers who opt for electric cars the satisfaction of quick and free charging while they shop. It’s a value for our shoppers that also benefits the environment.”

Friday, November 17, 2023

Commas food hall construction update in Silver Spring (Photos)

the new food hall under construction at Ellsworth Place mall in downtown Silver Spring, now has a tentative opening date of Q1 2024. Signage has been installed at the mall. Inside, there's still a lot to be done. It's interesting that the stages of construction are not consistent across the entire space. Some areas have counters and even some lighting fixtures, while basic elements like walls are still under construction elsewhere.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Is your home or business eligible for a Montgomery County security camera rebate?

Montgomery County has launched a new security camera rebate program for residents and businesses in select "priority areas" of the county, to combat the ongoing spike in crime. If your home is within one of these priority areas, you can receive a rebate on a security camera purchase of up to $250. So, if the camera is $250 or less, it will be free, minus installation or other costs beyond the camera itself. For businesses and non-profit organizations, the rebate tops out at $1250. 

The camera must meet certain standards set by the Montgomery County Police Department, and you must keep footage taken by the camera for at least 7 days. See all the requirements and fine print at the security camera program website.

You can check if your address is within a priority area using the Montgomery County police GIS map for the program. Among the priority areas are the Westbard commercial district, part of the Springfield neighborhood in Bethesda, parts of Rockville and Derwood near MD 355, large portions of Gaithersburg and Germantown, commercial areas of Olney and Damascus, and downtown Silver Spring. 

“Today we implemented our Private Security Camera Incentive Program, created to protect Montgomery County businesses and residents in areas experiencing relatively high incidences of crime,” County Councilmember Gabe Albornoz said in a statement. “Last year, my Council colleagues and I passed Bill 14-22, an opt-in program that lets businesses and individuals apply to receive a voucher or rebate to offset the cost of a security camera on their property. We are currently facing heightened security issues in every aspect of our daily lives. This program is even more important today than it was when it was passed a year ago. We look forward to working with MCPD to provide additional support to our businesses and residents with the greatest need.” 

Ellsworth Place unveils plan for residential addition, new opening dates for Commas food hall, Outback (Photos)

Ellsworth Place
mall's owner, GBT Realty, unveiled its plan for a new residential tower that would be constructed atop the existing downtown Silver Spring retail center at a virtual public meeting last night. GBT was represented by the Nashville firm's Senior Vice-President Trey Culpepper, and its attorney, Gus Bauman of the Beveridge & Diamond law firm. Culpepper told participants online that GBT has enjoyed its ownership of the mall, and serving the Silver Spring community, since it purchased the historic building in 2018. He said GBT has expanded into mixed-use development over the last five or six years, and is currently developing a new apartment building in Nashville. 

Culpepper gave some updates on the existing mall itself. The future Commas food hall is now expected to open during Q1 2024, with a soft-opening potentially possible mid-quarter. While construction of the new Outback Steakhouse on the mall's street level appears essentially complete, Culpepper said the restaurant is likely to open "right at the beginning of 2024." He said GBT is excited to have signed DSW as a retail tenant.

GBT's architect, Brandon Bell of the Nashville-based architecture firm Gresham Smith, noted that the mall's building was designed to support an additional structure on top when it was built in the 1990s. Structural beams on the mall's roof can support building materials, and construction can be staged on the transfer slab. Previous owners had offered the platform as a potential office tower base, but GBT has decided rental apartments are more viable in the current weak office market. The company is proposing a 20-story residential tower atop the existing 5-story mall, with up to 450 apartments.

Bell directed attendees' attention to the existing alleyway on the Colesville Road side of the mall. He said that area of the structure was designed for the lobby of a future office building addition, but would now be the location of the apartment tower's lobby. Spaces on the rooftop common area will be designed to allow people "to be alone together," Bell said. The roof will also feature an indoor pool.

Ian P. Duke of GBT's engineering firm, VIKA, said that the partners expect to submit their sketch plan as early as late November. However, there is no construction timeline for the project at this point. No fully-realized architectural renderings of the tower were available last night; only some massing and sectional cutaway diagrams.

No new parking spaces are proposed for the apartment tower. GBT believes all residents will use the 1500-space Montgomery County parking garage that is attached to the mall by a skybridge. There are also other garages and street parking nearby. Bauman characterized downtown Silver Spring as "transit rich," with existing Metro subway and Metrobus service, MARC commuter rail, Flash bus rapid transit service, and the eventual addition of the Purple Line light rail.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Residential tower proposed for top of Ellsworth Place mall in Silver Spring

GBT Realty Corporation will be holding a virtual public meeting tonight, November 15, 2023 at 7:00 PM, regarding its proposal to construct a residential addition atop the Ellsworth Place mall in downtown Silver Spring. See the sign pictured above for information needed to log in to the meeting. The mall has a right to build on top of its existing historic former Hecht's store structure. If you ever wanted to live in a mall, and have an Outback Steakhouse an elevator ride away, this is the future apartment for you!

MCDOT painting bus lanes on stretch of University Boulevard in Silver Spring, Kemp Mill & Wheaton

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation has begun painting red bus lanes on a stretch of University Boulevard between Wheaton and the Four Corners area of Silver Spring. As part of a pilot program, the bus lanes will be replacing one existing vehicle travel lane in each direction between Amherst Avenue in Wheaton and Dennis Avenue near Four Corners. MCDOT says it expects the painting to be completed by December, and will be taking steps to minimize the impacts of the work on residents and businesses.

Once designated, only transit buses, bicycles and emergency vehicles will be permitted to use the bus lanes. Automobiles may use them to make right turns within 100 feet of an intersection or turn. The new lanes will be monitored by MCDOT for 12 months to determine if they improve bus service in the corridor or not.

“Dedicated bus lanes benefit everyone,” MCDOT Director Chris Conklin said in a statement. “The intended outcome is to increase bus ridership by providing more reliable and faster service. We know that if we want more people to use the bus, we have to compete with cars by being faster and more convenient. This project will help us achieve that. Additionally, the bus lanes will provide more separation from higher-speed traffic for people walking along University Boulevard and will reduce number of cars in the right lane, improving conditions for bicyclists.” 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Downtown Silver Spring's gift of holiday decor for 2023 (Photos)

Peterson Cos.' Downtown Silver Spring development is once again decorated for the holiday shopping season. 2023 finds the centerpiece of the seasonal decor to be a massive gift box, rather than the traditional Christmas tree. The tall box sculpture features a wavy frame exterior that allows one to see the interior, which is mostly empty except for colored lights at the bottom. A separate sculpture centers on a golden cylinder that appears to be bursting open, unleashing a torrent of gift boxes and Christmas ornaments toward the sky and ground simultaneously. 

There's more than decor for the holidays at the popular retail center. Save the date for Downtown Silver Spring's Holiday Artisan Market on Saturday, December 16, 2023 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Artisans and their wares, curated for DTSS by Urban Village Markets, will join live musicians for six hours of holiday shopping fun.