by Aaron Kraut — October 22, 2014 at 4:35 pm 1 Comment

The Bacon Cheesy Slide burger from Burger 21, Photo via Burger 21The latest better burger brand to hit Bethesda might come from the company behind a well-known chain of fondue restaurants.

Burger 21, from Tampa-based Front Burner Brands, announced on Wednesday that it is seeking new franchise owners for a new batch of locations it hopes to open in Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park, Rockville and other places around the D.C. region.

Burger 21 management officials will be at the Capital Franchise Expo on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 at the Dulles Expo Center to promote the idea, and will hold a “franchising Executive Roundtable” on Nov. 2 for qualified candidates.

The chain has 14 locations so far spread through Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Virginia. It features freshly ground Certified Angus Beef burgers, chicken, turkey, vegetarian, shrimp and tuna burgers, plus hot dogs, salads and shakes.

Franchisees can expect one restaurant to require a total investment of anywhere from $400,000-$1,000,000, with an initial franchise fee of $40,000.

The “beyond the better burger” fast-casual concept will have plenty of local competition. Smashburger and Bobby’s Burger Palace opened last year in Bethesda, which already was home to BGR The Burger Joint and Five Guys.

Photo via Burger 21

by Aaron Kraut — October 22, 2014 at 3:25 pm 0

NIH Campus, BethesdaWhile a nurse being treated for Ebola at NIH has gotten most of the media attention, the Bethesda-based federal agency has also been busy working on potential vaccines for the virus.

On Wednesday, NIH announced human testing on a second investigational Ebola vaccine candidate is underway at its Clinical Center on its Rockville Pike campus.

Researchers from the agency’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases are testing the vaccine, called VSV-ZEBOV, for safety and its ability to create what’s called a “prime-boost” in a human’s immune system.

Early human testing of another investigational Ebola vaccine co-developed by NIAID and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) began in early September. Initial data on that vaccine candidate is expected by the end of 2014.

Phase 1 of the clinical trial for VSV-ZEBOV will include 39 healthy adults age 18 to 65. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of three groups. Ten participants in each group will receive the potential vaccine and three will receive a placebo.

Each of the three groups will receive a different dose of the possible vaccine as the trial goes on. Participants will get an injection of the possible vaccine or placebo at their first scheduled visit and again about a month later.

All will be evaluated by clinical staff 11 times over the next year:

VSV-Zebov is based in part on a genetically engineered version of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), which primarily affects rodents, cattle, swine and horses. Human VSV infections are rare and generally produce three to four days of mild illness. In the VSV-ZEBOV investigational vaccine, the gene for the outer protein of the vesicular stomatitis virus has been replaced with a segment of the gene for the outer protein of the Zaire Ebola virus species. The investigational VSV-ZEBOV vaccine cannot cause a vaccinated individual to become infected with Ebola.


by Aaron Kraut — October 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm 0

Activity Building at Maplewood-Alta Vista Park in Bethesda, via Google Maps

A local youth dance academy is in line to take over a vacant building in a Bethesda park.

The Rock Creek Dance Academy, which now holds classes in three different Bethesda schools, is seeking to lease the park activity building at Maplewood-Alta Vista Park (5209 Alta Vista Rd.).

Montgomery Parks began a new push to find tenants for the buildings earlier this year.

According to the Parks Department, it evaluated the dance academy’s proposal based on the program’s business plan, ability to pay the rent and “overall approach to the adaptive reuse including compatibility with the community and park and overall benefit to the public.”

Parks will hold a public meeting during which Rock Creek Dance Academy will provide a more detailed presentation. The meeting, set for Dec. 3 at Maplewood-Alta Vista Park, will come before any final decision on the proposal.

Not all tenants for unused Parks buildings are met with approval from neighbors. Last month, a few neighbors near Lynbrook Park opposed a plan by the daycare leasing the building to build a small fence around the building. The daycare has since dropped the fence plans.

Image via Google Maps

by Aaron Kraut — October 22, 2014 at 1:15 pm 211 2 Comments

Closed northbound lane of Hillandale Road in Bethesda

Repairs of the partially collapsed storm drain that led to the closure of a Bethesda road last week will keep one lane of the road closed for several months.

According to the Department’s Division of Highway Services, a storm drain culvert under Hillandale Road roadway was found to be degraded last Thursday. That led to the county closing the northbound lane of Hillandale Road between Little Falls Parkway and Willet Parkway.

Montgomery County Police issued an alert on Wednesday saying the repairs will keep the lane closed for “several months.”

The closure cuts off access to the Bethesda Swimming Pool (6300 Little Falls Parkway) and Willet Parkway from the south. Detour signage has been set up to direct drivers to northbound Arlington Road, eastbound Bradley Boulevard and then southbound Hillandale Road.

by Aaron Kraut — October 22, 2014 at 12:25 pm 0

Sara Sulzbach, right, with family members at last year's Candy Cane City 5K, Photo via Hope Connections For Cancer SupportNine months after her breast cancer was determined to be in remission, Sara Sulzbach will be surrounded by 40 family members and close friends when she races in next month’s Candy Cane City 5K in Chevy Chase.

Sulzbach was diagnosed with an advanced stage of breast cancer in the fall of 2012 — at the age of 43. The Silver Spring resident underwent 130 medical procedures and, perhaps just as important, hooked up with the team at Hope Connections for Cancer Support in Bethesda.

The nonprofit, which moved to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) campus at 9650 Rockville Pike last year, provides weekly and monthly support groups, gentle yoga courses, knitting, stich, chat sessions and other free programming meant to provide emotional help for cancer patients.

Sulzbach took part in the nonprofit’s Pink Ribbon Pilates class and attended group meetings for a year-and-a-half.

Now, she’s training for the 5K, set for Saturday, Nov. 9. She also ran in last year’s event, while still undergoing cancer treatment.

The race will mark her one-year point as a cancer survivor and she’ll have that group of family and friends with her as part of the “Sara’s New & Improved Rack Pack” team.

Hope Connections will also have a team in the 5K. For more information, visit the group’s website.

All donations will help people affected by cancer through the nonprofit, which provides its programming free of charge.

Photo via Hope Connections For Cancer Support

by Aaron Kraut — October 22, 2014 at 10:30 am 0

Filmmakers answer audience questions at the inaugural Bethesda Film Fest in March at Imagination Stage (file photo)The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is looking for short documentaries to feature in its third annual Bethesda Film Fest, set for next March.

The event will again use a two-night format on Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21 at Imagination Stage.

Up to five films will be featured by filmmakers from Maryland, Virginia and D.C. and a documentary by a filmmaker younger than 18 may also be included.

Selected filmmakers will get a $500 honorarium and be invited to speak about their films at the Film Fest.

A panel including Kiley Kraskouskas, president and Executive producer of Thinking Forward Media, Ellen Tripler, associate producer at Journey Films, and members of the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District Board of Directors will select the films.

All topics are eligible. The documentary must be between five and 30 minutes long. Those interested in applying can mail a DVD of their documentary and a completed application form to Bethesda Film Fest c/o Bethesda Urban Partnership, 7700 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda,MD 20814.

Entries must be received by Jan. 12, 2015.

by Aaron Kraut — October 22, 2014 at 9:20 am 0

Flickr photo by thisisbossi

Kensington Playground Likely Set Ablaze – MCFRS arson investigators are looking for information on a fire that destroyed the St. Paul Park playground in Kensington on Monday night. Investigators believe the fire was intentionally set. Firefighters arrived to the site at about 11 p.m. on Monday and found the playground equipment fully engulfed in flames. [Bethesda Magazine]

Construction Cam Time – The developer of “Element 28,” the 15-story, 120-unit apartment project coming to Old Georgetown Road and Commerce Lane, has installed a camera to keep tabs on construction progress at the site. The camera was placed on top of the county’s Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center building across the street. [EarthCam]

Gallery B November Exhibit – Bethesda Urban Partnership’s Gallery B (7700 Wisconsin Ave., Suite E) will host “Metalwork 2014″ for its November show starting on Nov. 1. The gallery will be open from noon-6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday with an opening reception from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 14. [Bethesda Arts & Entertainment]

Flickr photo by thisisbossi

by BethesdaNow.com — October 22, 2014 at 8:00 am 553 4 Comments

This biweekly column is written by Suzanne Lawter, Director of Community Outreach for Mutts Matter Rescue, a local nonprofit, all-volunteer dog rescue. Mutts Matter is a network of volunteers who love animals and want to make a difference by helping forgotten and discarded dogs find loving families. Since our founding in 2010, we have successfully rescued and placed more than 1,400 dogs in the local Washington Metropolitan area.

Based on the title, you probably thought this article would be about a Labrador or Golden Retriever, but it’s about a group of dogs commonly referred to as “Pit Bulls,” and their fall from grace in our society. In honor of Pit Bull Awareness month, I want to share some information about these misunderstood dogs and their history.

Mutts Matter RescueDuring the first half of the 20th century, Pit Bulls were the closest thing the United States had to a national dog. They were featured prominently by the U.S. in World War I and II recruiting posters, used as corporate mascots, and cast as the ideal family dog in television and movies. Now the breed is demonized, and battles everything from a media-driven reputation as being predators to abuse from their owners, to legislation that seeks to outlaw their very existence. How did this happen to a dog that was once America’s sweetheart?


The term “Pit Bull” doesn’t describe a single breed of dog; it’s a generic term used to define multiple breeds of working dogs that were initially bred by crossing Bulldogs with Terriers. The core breeds include the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, but the term is now used to encompass a wide array of muscular dogs with blocky heads and short hair, many of which are mixed breeds with a similar look but a different lineage. Dogs commonly mislabeled as Pit Bulls include Mastiffs, American Bulldogs, Boxers, and Plott Hounds, among others.


by BethesdaNow.com Sponsor — October 22, 2014 at 5:00 am 0

Bethesda Row banner

Are you considering buying a home in suburban Maryland in 2015?

If so, attend this home buyer seminar in Bethesda next Tuesday, October 28th.

Three industry experts – Joe Zamoiski of 1st Portfolio Lending, George Papakostas of Long & Foster, and George Glekas of GPN Title – will give an informative talk about the process of buying a home in Maryland. Joe, George, and George have years of experience between them in the close-in Maryland market, not to mention hundreds of successful transactions.

They’ll cover the home-buying process in detail, including:

  • Identifying a home.
  • The offer, negotiation, and closing process.
  • Financing, including loan approval and figuring out what you can afford.
  • State of the suburban Maryland market.

In addition to the above, the purpose of the seminar is to answer your questions. Attendance is kept low to allow ample attention for all attendees. You’ll have plenty of time to ask questions during the Q&A or afterwards if you’d prefer to ask a question privately.

Click here to register

The speakers will present for 45 minutes or so, after which there will be Q&A for 30 minutes, when the seminar officially ends. But Joe, George, and George will stick around as long as necessary to answer all questions.

More details:

  • Location: Downtown Bethesda at the American Inn, 8130 Wisconsin Ave. (map).
  • Parking: Limited on site with overflow parking across the street for $1.25/hr.
  • Metro-accessible: Five blocks from the Bethesda station.
  • Cost: $15 per person here, $20 at the door.
  • Food: Snacks and drinks will be provided.
  • Questions: Email seminars2014@urbanturf.com or call 703-842-1391.

Click here to register

by BethesdaNow.com Sponsor — October 21, 2014 at 9:30 am 0

Editor’s Note: This biweekly sponsored column is written by Rick Gersten, founder and CEO of Urban Igloo, a rental real estate firm that matches up renters with their ideal apartments, condos…


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