Friday, December 29, 2023

2 assaults reported in as many months at Silver Spring nursing home

Two months have brought reports of two assaults at the same Silver Spring nursing home. The first assault at the nursing home in the 2000 block of East-West Highway was reported on November 26, 2023. Montgomery County police officers were called to the facility again exactly one month later, this past Tuesday, December 26, at 12:17 AM. As in last month's incident, the report was of a 2nd-degree assault.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

New rotating sign at Kaldi's Rooftop in Silver Spring (Video + Photos)

There's a new addition to the exterior of Kaldi's Rooftop at 918 Silver Spring Avenue in downtown Silver Spring. A rotating sign advertising the rooftop restaurant and lounge has been installed outside the Kaldi's Social House storefront on the first level of the building. One side features the name of the rooftop night spot, and the opposite displays the logo of the business. 

Police investigate prostitution at Silver Spring hotel

Montgomery County police were called to a hotel in downtown Silver Spring to investigate possible prostitution activity taking place there Tuesday evening, December 26, 2023. Officers were summoned to the hotel at 6:50 PM Tuesday. The hotel in question is located in the 8000 block of 13th Street.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Starbucks opening new store in Aspen Hill

Another Starbucks is coming to Aspen Hill. The new store will be at 13677 Connecticut Avenue in the Aspen Hill Shopping Center. It is expected to open by mid-2024 in the former Dress Barn space. Starbucks has an existing Aspen Hill location at Plaza del Mercado.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Silver Spring Taco Bell Cantina update

A few more tidbits of information about the soon-to-open Taco Bell Cantina at 8662 Colesville Road in downtown Silver Spring have surfaced: Operating hours will be 7:00 AM to 2:00 AM seven days a week, so it will definitely be a place to go after shows at The Fillmore next door. That's yet another reason to believe this restaurant will be hugely successful. Parent company Yum Brands seems to think so, too; it has signed a ten-year lease for the space, which was previously home to Pollo Campero. 

Monday, December 25, 2023

Maryland minimum wage increases to $15 on January 1, 2024

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (L) and
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich

The minimum wage in Maryland will increase to $15 on Monday, January 1, 2024. This statewide increase was signed into law by Gov. Wes Moore (D) earlier this year. Here in Montgomery County, the minimum wage is already $15 or higher for most employers. As a result, only employees of business with 10 or less workers will see their salaries increase on New Year's Day, from $14.50 to $15.00. 

“We applaud Governor Wes Moore’s efforts to help all Marylanders,” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) said in a statement. “The minimum wage is ultimately about working people being able to earn enough to put a roof over their heads, feed their families and not have to choose between food on the table and medical visits. I want to thank Governor Moore for making this one of his earliest priorities. I was glad to testify on behalf of the legislation, and I support this important State-wide legislation.”

Friday, December 22, 2023

Signage installed at Taco Bell Cantina in Silver Spring (Photos)

The sign is up at the future Taco Bell Cantina at 8662 Colesville Road in downtown Silver Spring. It's not lit yet, and is somewhat understated in size and design compared to some existing Cantina locations in other parts of the country. The overall exterior aesthetic, especially with the facade in its current state, doesn't quite jibe with the Cantina brand descriptors of "fancy" and "upscale." That won't affect the quality of the special menu and adult beverage selections, or the interior design of the restaurant, so let's wait until the construction is completed to give an official verdict on the exterior design.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Country Boy Market closes in Glenmont; wholesale customers still being served

It's the end of an era at the Glenmont Shopping Center. Country Boy Market has closed its retail store operation at 2211 Randolph Road, at the busy crossroads with Georgia Avenue. Country Boy says it will continue to serve wholesale customers. The market has operated continuously for 68 years.

"Thank you for allowing us to serve this wonderful community these past 68 years," Country Boy said in a heartwarming statement posted on its website. "From our family to yours, we wish you all the best. God bless all of you." Country Boy is one of the few landmark businesses from the golden age of Glenmont to survive until 2023, and it's a record and history to be tremendously proud of.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Pickpocket strikes at Olney Village Center

Montgomery County police were called to the Olney Village Center yesterday, December 19, 2023, to investigate a pickpocket incident. The pocket was picked at a department store at the shopping center, located at 18330 Town Center Drive, at 5:30 PM. Watch your wallet, and avoid carrying it in your back pocket, if possible.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Downtown Silver Spring Outback Steakhouse update (Photos)

The waiting game continues at the future Outback Steakhouse at 8661 Colesville Road at Ellsworth Place mall in downtown Silver Spring. While the interior has looked ready to open for months, and the exterior signs are up and lit, the opening was pushed back to January 2024. Here's a look at where preparations stand inside the restaurant as we count down the final days to opening. This will be the third Outback Steakhouse in Montgomery County.

Monday, December 18, 2023

WMATA puts L8 Metrobus on chopping block in doomsday budget

A major bus route connecting Aspen Hill and the Friendship Heights Metro station is among 67 Metrobus lines WMATA is proposing to eliminate under its "doomsday" budget. The L8 Metrobus travels along the Connecticut Avenue corridor between Aspen Hill and the Chevy Chase area. It is the top bus route along that corridor; I rode this bus almost every day in high school. Governments and transit agencies often release doomsday budgets prior to asking taxpayers to shell out more to avoid the painful cuts proposed.


Friday, December 15, 2023

Montgomery County's JBG Smith biggest winner in D.C.'s potential loss of Capitals, Wizards

The Montgomery County Council and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore may have been asleep at the switch during the tug-of-war over the future home of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals, but a company in their jurisdiction may pull off the biggest win in the teams' potential move to Virginia. Bethesda's JBG Smith is the landowner of the proposed Potomac Yard arena and mixed-use development sites in Alexandria. If the teams relocate as envisioned by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and team owner Ted Leonsis, the real estate development firm will stand to be ultimate victor from a business standpoint. Those potential big profits might still benefit the county and state revenue coffers in Maryland, even if the gaudy bragging rights to the actual teams will accrue to Virginia. 

Successful relocation of the teams to Potomac Yard, and the related development, dovetail perfectly with JBG Smith's existing plans and vision for the National Landing area. The firm will be able to sell the proposed sites to a Virginia sports development authority, and would be the developer of the corporate Monumental Sports Entertainment headquarters, arena, media studio, performing arts venue, and e-sports facility proposed as part of the overall plan. And the sports-related growth at Potomac Yards would boost the earning potential for JBG Smith's other National Landing properties, of which Amazon's HQ2 is the crown jewel.

Of course, HQ2's ultimate benefit to Northern Virginia remains to be seen, as Amazon has not been exempt from the work-from-home revolution and other stresses on its businesses. How many jobs and how many square feet of office space Amazon will eventually need at National Landing is up in the air at this point. How much Virginia taxpayers will shell out for a billionaire to move his sports teams is also not set in stone today. But the additional development opportunities the move would provide could not have come at a better time for JBG Smith.

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is in the unenviable position of not only possibly losing two of the city's professional sports teams at once, but of having had to make a desperate bid of $500,000,000 at the 11th hour that doesn't appear to have persuaded Leonsis to stay. Such a two-team exit is a potential nightmare for Moore in Maryland, as he tries to keep the Washington Commanders and Baltimore Orioles in the state. His cringeworthy pitch to the Commanders in a VIP suite in "Raljon," as recounted by The Washington Post, did not reflect the bargaining prowess his Wall Street resume would lead us to believe he would have. Moore's inabililty to find immediate success in attracting major companies to Maryland over the past 11 months, despite a Rolodex filled with celebrity and Fortune 500 friends, has raised eyebrows among those closely watching Maryland's economic development efforts.

The fact that Moore was not in the conversation regarding the Wizards and Capitals, when the firm at the center of the intrigue is in his own state, is unlikely to reduce those whispered doubts in the business community. But the silver lining in this case is that JBG Smith - and Montgomery County and Maryland, if they actually get their share of the firm's increased revenue - will likely gain financially, even if Virginia ends up overpaying for the teams, as the company will still profit regardless. Virginia's elected officials could look like suckers a decade from now, but the real winner would still be at 4747 Bethesda Avenue.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Taco Bell Cantina Silver Spring update (Photos)

The interior fit-out of the Taco Bell Cantina at 8662 Colesville Road in downtown Silver Spring is in the advanced stages now. Flooring, kitchen equipment, lighting fixtures and some seating are all in place. 

Takeout window

Two signs of the importance of takeout and delivery orders in the post-2020 restaurant business here are a cabinet for mobile and delivery orders to be picked up from, and a takeout window cut into the storefront. The latter has been a feature of the Taco Bell Cantina concept from its first location in San Francisco in 2015, however. 

Taco Bell Cantina has applied for its liquor license. A hearing on its application has been scheduled for January 4, 2024 at 10:00 AM.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Overnight Purple Line work this week in downtown Silver Spring

Purple Line-related utility work will take place near the McGee Library in downtown Silver Spring during the overnight hours this week, starting on the evening of December 15, 2023. Underground utilities will be installed between the library building and Bonifant Street. Work will take place between the hours of 7:00 PM and 9:00 AM. No completion date estimate for the work was mentioned in the announcement, and - as always - work plans may change due to inclement weather.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Police seeking shoplifter from Kohl's in Aspen Hill

Montgomery County police are seeking the public's help in identifying and locating an alleged shoplifter who stole merchandise from the Kohl's store in Aspen Hill on October 30, 2023. The incident occurred at the store, located at 3901 Aspen Hill Road, around 3:00 PM that day. Police have released photos of the adult male suspect, who was captured on surveillance cameras at the store.

The suspect is described by police as a Black male, approximately 6-feet tall, with a thin build. "He appears to have permanent injury to one eye and is currently wearing his hair in long locs," a statement from the police department said. He was carrying a large duffle bag at the time of the incident, and was wearing a gray beanie cap, a green coat, green pants, a blue neck gaiter and black and yellow gloves.    

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.   

Monday, December 11, 2023

Kensington bank building available for lease or sale

It's amazing how many landmark buildings along the main drag in Kensington have been put on the market for lease in recent years. The Jhoon Rhee building is obviously the Holy Grail, but another classic bank building has joined the list. 3740 University Boulevard is now available for lease or sale by Avison Young. 

The 4,546-square-foot building with classic architecture is, of course, ready to go as a bank branch. That drive-thru might make it enticing for a fast food restaurant, as well. Alas, Dunkin' Donuts - which has made a practice of converting drive-thru banks into donut shops in recent years - already has a Kensington location. Rent and asking price are both available upon request, but not stated on the online listing.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Strong-arm robbery at bus stop in Silver Spring

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a strong-arm robbery at a bus stop in the Sligo Estates/Oranges area of Silver Spring yesterday afternoon, December 7, 2023. The robbery was reported at a bus stop in the 800 block of University Boulevard W. at 3:15 PM Thursday.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Armed carjacking in Hillandale

Montgomery County police responded to a report of an armed carjacking at a gas station in the Hillandale area Monday evening, December 4, 2023. The assault was reported at a gas station in the 10200 block of New Hampshire Avenue at 7:00 PM Monday.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Armed robbery at Takoma Park ATM

An ATM customer attempting to complete a transaction was the alleged victim of an armed robbery in Takoma Park Monday evening, December 4, 2023. The robbery was reported at an ATM machine in the 1100 block of University Boulevard, just inside the Montgomery County border with Prince George's County. It took place at 8:44 PM Monday. There's an ATM at the Wells Fargo bank branch there in the Mega Mart shopping center.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

White Oak homicide suspect arrested

Montgomery County police have made an arrest in relation to the fatal shooting that occurred in White Oak on November 4, 2023. Detectives had identified Markus Tyrell Dowdy, 33, of no fixed address, as the suspect in the double shooting that left Marvin Jefferson of Silver Spring dead. A second victim survived, and has been released from the hospital. The shooting occurred after an alleged argument at America's Best Wings at 11245 New Hampshire Avenue.

U.S. Marshals located and arrested Dowdy in Takoma Park this past Saturday, December 2.  He has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault, use of a firearm in the commission of a violent crime, second-degree assault and other related charges. Dowdy is being held in the Montgomery County Central Processing Unit, awaiting a bond hearing. 

Monday, December 4, 2023

Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin Robbins store to open in Glenmont

A new Dunkin' Donuts-Baskin Robbins store is planned for the Glenmont area. It will be located at 12106 Georgia Avenue. This space has most recently been home to $2.49 Cleaners, a dry cleaning business. Time to make the donuts!

Friday, December 1, 2023

Country Boy Market in Glenmont may close before Christmas

The timeline for the anticipated closure of Country Boy Market at 2211 Randolph Road in Glenmont is beginning to come into sharper focus. Country Boy reports that it will likely shut its doors permanently "a little before Christmas," if the current pace of inventory liquidation remains steady. All wine and firewood has sold out, but the store is still offering craft beers at steep discounts. Essential items like produce, eggs, milk and bread are expected to be available through the final weeks, as is a good selection of non-alcoholic wine. Apples are currently going for $1 a pound.