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Census Still Looking For Help Testing New Methods In MoCo

by Aaron Kraut | July 31, 2014 at 3:25 pm | 89 views | No Comments

Photo via U.S. Census BureauThe U.S. Census Bureau is still looking for help researching new methods for data gathering in its 2014 Census Test, which is being conducted in Montgomery County and D.C.

At least 1,000 people are needed for a variety of paid temporary positions as the Census Bureau looks at ways to incorporate smart technology into its 2020 Census data gathering.

The Census Test, operated out of the agency’s local office in Silver Spring, needs Census takers who likely will work in their own neighborhoods over varied hours, not exceeding 40 hours per week. Since most census taker positions require personally interviewing respondents, those who apply must be able to work when people are typically at home, which includes evening and weekend hours. In most cases, a valid driver’s license and use of a vehicle are required to work as a census taker.

Pay starts at about $15 an hour.

The local Census Test began on June 23 and will continue to Sept. 25. The Census Bureau says the test area includes about 200,000 housing units.

Photo via U.S. Census Bureau

North Bethesda Doctor Indicted For Serving As ‘Pill Mill’

by Aaron Kraut | July 31, 2014 at 2:20 pm | 494 views | 1 Comment

Federal prosecutors say a North Bethesda doctor served as a “pill mill” for prescription drug abusers from as far as Tennessee and is responsible for distributing methadone to a patient who died as a result of using the drug.

Silviu Ziscovici, known as “Dr. Z” according to federal officials, was charged earlier this week with conspiracy to distribute and distribution of controlled dangerous substances, distribution of a controlled dangerous substance resulting in death and money laundering in connection to his 11400 Rockville Pike pain and management practice.

The indictment, brought by a grand jury at the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, alleges that Ziscovici used his state medical license to prescribe oxycodone, methadone, morphine, alprazolam and other controlled substances to patients without any apparent medical need for the drugs.

The indictment alleges users paid Ziscovici a fee to get the prescriptions from at least July 2009 through June 22, 2010.

An investigation of Ziscovici by the Drug Enforcement Administration led to the Maryland Board of Physicians permanently revoking his medical license in December 2010. No criminal charges were filed at the time, but DEA information in the suspension order revealed 15 of his patients died from drug overdoses and that he’d been seeing about 35 patients a day from 13 different states for a profit of between $1.4 million and $1.9 million a year.

The DEA said it began investigating Ziscovici in September 2009 after several Maryland pharmacists reported to the state Division of Drug Control that they had seen unusually high number of Ziscovici’s patients with prescriptions for large amounts of pain medication. According to the suspension order, Montgomery County Police began investigating Ziscovici in the summer of 2009 using undercover detectives.

The 29-count federal indictment was announced Wednesday and means Ziscovici faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and up to life in prison for the the single charge of distribution resulting in death. The 26 counts of distribution of controlled substances and for conspiracy each carry 20-year sentences and the money laundering charge carries a 10-year sentence.

Ziscovici had an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on Wednesday and remains in custody pending a detention hearing set for Friday afternoon.

The federal indictment alleges that on Feb. 2, 2010, Ziscovici “caused methadone to be distributed to a patient, outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose” that led to the death of one patient.

The indictment also alleges that a co-conspirator living in Tennessee would regularly transport people from Tennessee to Ziscovici’s North Bethesda office:

According to the indictment, Ziscovici instructed the co-conspirator not to bring anyone under the age of 25, or anyone with visible “track marks” to Ziscovici’s office. The indictment alleges that, among other things, Ziscovici conducted cursory, incomplete, or no medical examination of patients, prescribed inappropriate combinations of medications, increased patients’ dosages without medical justification, and treated a large number of patients who had travelled long distances to his office in order to obtain prescriptions for highly addictive controlled substances.

Prospective Westbard Developer To Hold Sidewalk Sale, Food Truck Rally

by Aaron Kraut | July 31, 2014 at 1:15 pm | 241 views | 2 Comments

Westbard, along River Road and Westbard Avenue via Equity OneThe prospective developer of the Westbard section of Bethesda is hoping to enliven the area’s flagship shopping center with a series of community events over the next two months.

Equity One bought Westwood Towers, Springhouse by Manor Care, Bowlmor Lanes and two Citgo stations last year and finalized the acquisition of Westwood Shopping Center and Westwood Center II early this year. The company almost immediately began a series of open-to-public meetings with residents in the area to explain the broad strokes of their redevelopment plans, which will require new zoning through an updated area master plan.

On Saturday, Equity One will hold a summer sidewalk sale at Westwood Shopping Center, now anchored by a Giant grocery store and a mix of national and local retailers.

The event, from noon to 4 p.m., will be run in partnership with the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center and include a DJ, face painter, ice cream truck, games and raffle prizes. On Saturday, Sept. 20, Equity One has set up a Food Truck Rally for the shopping center, then an E-Recycling Day on Saturday, Sept. 27.

Equity One hired a Rockville-based public relations firm to help it create a website and foster communication with residents, many who are wary of increased commercial and residential density in the area of strip shopping centers just west of River Road.

Equity One successfully lobbied the County Council to move the Westbard Sector Plan Update to this year.

At a public meeting on March 18, Equity One presented its idea for a  a “signature” main street on Westbard Avenue with pedestrian crossings and upscale retailers to replace loading docks and driveways. It plans to tab developer EYA to design the residential component of the project.

It would mean big changes for the Westwood Shopping Center, though it’s unknown at this point what precise changes are might be in store.

Michael Berfield, executive vice president of development for Equity One, said in March that the company held a breakfast meeting with about 50 of the existing businesses and promised to “make it economically reasonable for them to stay,” through any redevelopment.

Photo via Equity One

Weekly Crime Report: July 14 to July 22

by Aaron Kraut | July 31, 2014 at 12:25 pm | 81 views | No Comments

The latest 2nd District crime summary from Montgomery County Police:

Four thefts from vehicles occurred during this reporting period. Entry was both forced and unforced. Incidents occurred on Taylor Street and Ross Road in Chevy Chase and on 16th Street in Silver Spring. Items targeted included: cash, rims, tires, radios, a purse, a cell phone and a tv.

A theft occurred in the 7200 block of Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda on Monday, 7/14 between 4:00 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. The suspect obtained property from the victim.

A sexual offense occurred in the 4900 block of Fairmont Avenue in Bethesda on Thursday, 7/17 during the afternoon hours. The suspect is known to the victim

A strong-arm robbery occurred in the 5200 block of Wapakoneta Road in Bethesda on Friday, 7/18 at 3:15 p.m. The suspect assaulted the victim and obtained property.

Suspect: B/M, 6′, bald

A commercial burglary occurred at the Exxon located at 6729 Goldsboro Road in Bethesda on Monday, 7/14 between 3:20 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Unknown entry; property taken.

An attempted commercial burglary occurred in the 4500 block of Sangamore Road in Bethesda on Wednesday, 7/16 at approximately 8:15 p.m. Attempted forced entry; nothing taken.

A commercial burglary occurred at Tilden Pool, 6806 Tilden Lane in Rockville overnight between Thursday, 7/17 and Friday, 7/18. Forced entry; vandalism occurred.

A sex assault occurred in the 7400 block of Westlake Terrace in Bethesda on Wednesday, 7/16 at an unknown time. The suspect is known to the victim.

Six thefts from vehicles occurred in this beat during this reporting period. All incidents involved unsecured vehicles. Two incidents occurred at Congressional Country Club, 8500 River Road in Bethesda.

Downtown Demolition To Make Way For High-End Condos

by Aaron Kraut | July 31, 2014 at 11:35 am | 421 views | 9 Comments

To make way for multi-million dollar condos, crews first must tear down an old brick garden apartment in downtown Bethesda.

The demolition of the Hampden Apartments, which were rented out anywhere from $1,105 to $2,405 monthly, will make way for The Lauren, a 40-unit new condo project that will require quite a bit more coin.

A four-bed, four-and-half-bath condo at the building will cost $4.8 million, according to Sotheby’s International Realty, which is the listing agent for the development.

The Lauren will also take the place of a parking lot and standalone house at 4901 Hampden Lane, with frontage to Woodmont Avenue near Bethesda Row. County law requires six moderately priced units. Five other units will be for sale as guest/amenity suites.

Chevy Chase Village Wants Signalized Connecticut Avenue Crosswalk

by Aaron Kraut | July 31, 2014 at 10:25 am | 126 views | 5 Comments

Lenox Street icorner at Connecticut Avenue, image via Google Maps

Chevy Chase Village isn’t satisfied with a plan to put a flashing yellow pedestrian signal on what the Village says could be a key crossing of six-lane Connecticut Avenue.

The Maryland State Highway Administration has proposed the flashing yellow signal for Lenox Street and Connecticut Avenue, which leads to the Village Hall — a center of activity and home to the Village’s Police Department.

In a letter to SHA Administrator Melinda Peters, Gary Crockett from the Village Board of Managers wrote that a resident crossing with his walker was recently hit by a car, illustrating the danger.

“The flashing yellow light planned by SHA will not protect pedestrians and may even increase the risk of pedestrian and vehicle crashes,” Crockett wrote. “Based on a review of extensive Federal research on pedestrian safety, the only truly effective protection is to install a full color traffic signal.”

The Village’s Board of Managers created an ad hoc Pedestrian Safety Committee in March to push for the full signal, which would be pedestrian-activiated and which Crockett wrote wouldn’t adversely affect vehicular traffic.

According to the Village website, the SHA denied that request, saying the Village lacks the minimum number of pedestrians seeking to cross Connecticut Avenue per SHA metrics. The Village argued that more pedestrians “would undoubtedly seek to cross if there was a safe way to do so,” but that “the State continues to point to the failure to meet the warrants as insufficient basis to proceed with the installation of a signal.”

Crockett wrote that the Village Hall and the post office unit inside the Village Hall are home to more than 33,000 transactions per year.

Image via Google Maps

Morning Notes

by Aaron Kraut | July 31, 2014 at 9:10 am | 367 views | No Comments

Flickr photo by Amon

Georgetown Prep Lax Coach Resigns – Kevin Giblin, who was Georgetown Prep’s lacrosse coach for 27 years, resigned on Wednesday. It’s unclear why. A letter from the school’s athletic director doesn’t give a reason for the resignation and a report from Washington Magazine claims it’s because Giblin got in a bar fight in June at Caddies on Cordell. Giblin didn’t respond to requests for comments on the reported incident. [Washingtonian Magazine]

International Beer Day At Piazza Beer Garden – To celebrate International Beer Day (which is officially Friday) Piazza Beer Garden (7401 Woodmont Ave.) is hosting a beer and hors d’oeuvres event on Thursday evening. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, the beer garden will host the event with DC Brau’s Brandon Skall. The event is open to the public and tickets are $10. [International Beer Day At Piazza Beer Garden]

Bethesda Native Qualifies For U.S. Amateur Championship – Bethesda native Keegan Boone carded a two-round score of 139 at a qualifying event in Prince George’s County and will head to the 114th U.S. Amateur Championship next month at the Atlanta Athletic Club. Boone graduated from Gonzaga College High School and is going into his junior year at Loyola University in Baltimore, where he helped the Greyhounds win last season’s Patriot League title. [Loyola Athletics]

Flickr photo by Amon

Glen Echo Labor Day Art Show Looking For Entries

by Aaron Kraut | July 30, 2014 at 3:25 pm | 66 views | No Comments

Glen Echo Park's Annual Labor Day Art Show. (Courtesy Daniel Schreiber)The 44th annual Labor Day Art Show at Glen Echo Park is looking for entries.

The event typically draws more than 250 artists with works in a wide range of artistic media, including, sculpture, painting, glass, jewelry, photography and furniture.

From noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30, Saturday, Aug. 31 and Sunday, Sept. 1, the works will be on display and for sale in Glen Echo Park’s historic Spanish Ballroom (7300 MacArthur Blvd.).

It’s one of the Glen Echo Park Partnership’s biggest yearly events, drawing around 9,000 visitors over the weekend.

The deadline for artists who hope to take part is Sunday, Aug. 3.

Photo via Glen Echo Park Partnership

Cops Offering Crash Course In Police Work

by Aaron Kraut | July 30, 2014 at 12:45 pm | 201 views | No Comments

Police investigate a bank robbery in August 2013 (file photo)The Montgomery County Police Department is looking for people who want a crash course in policing.

MCP is accepting applications for future sessions of its Citizen Academy, a program that started in 1994 to give community members a greater awareness and better understanding of how and why police officers do their jobs.

The free class meets 18 times, on Tuesdays from 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m. and covers topics including firearm safety, Maryland traffic law, forensics, investigating major crimes and DUIs and underage drinking.

The Citizen Academy also offers the chance for members to tour the Montgomery County Detention Center and do a ride-along with an officer.

MCP holds a spring and fall session each year at the Public Safety Training Academy in Rockville. The 2014 fall session is set to begin Sept. 16 and run to Feb. 3. Applications for the session are due Aug. 15.

All applicants must be at least 18, either live or work in Montgomery County and will be subject to a background check. To graduate from the course, participants must attend at least 14 of the 18 classes.

Morning Notes

by Aaron Kraut | July 30, 2014 at 9:00 am | 589 views | 2 Comments

Trader Joe’s Coming To Apartment Project? – A representative from developer JBG might have mistakenly revealed a Trader Joe’s grocery store is coming to the ground floor of the company’s planned…

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