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by BethesdaNow.com Sponsor — March 3, 2015 at 11:30 am 0

Ask Andrew

This sponsored, weekly Q&A column is written by Andrew Goodman, broker/owner of Goodman, Realtors. Based in Bethesda, Andrew serves clients in Maryland, D.C., and Northern Virginia. Please submit comments, questions, and opinions in the comments section or via email.

Question: Are home warranties worth purchasing?

I do believe home warranties are worth purchasing, for the right home. It all depends on the age of appliances, systems and other parts of the home to know if a warranty will be money well spent.

Let me explain what a home warranty is, what it covers and how it works. A home warranty is purchased to protect your home’s appliances and major systems when and if they fail. There are several home warranty companies out there with several different packages. American Home Shield (AHS) offers the following packages:

  • Appliance Package ($19/month): Covers repair and replacement of most major home appliances including washers, dryers, icemakers and garage door openers.
  • Combo Package ($44.08/month): Covers most major appliances and home systems including AC ductwork, electrical, plumbing, washers and dryers.
  • Systems Package ($33.33/month) : Covers repair and replacement of most major home systems including A/C with ductwork, water heaters, plumbing and doorbells.

So how does it work? If an issue arises and you have the proper coverage, you would call the service line. A local repair professional would be scheduled to come visit your home. For each visit you would pay a predetermined service fee ($75-$125). If your issue is covered it will be repaired or replaced.

I feel that you can’t go wrong with having added protection. A home warranty is a simple and easy way to protect the items of your home if they break or fail. But the fees involved can get pricey. Everyone wants to save money and the question is if a home warranty will save you money.

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by Aaron Kraut — March 3, 2015 at 10:25 am 1 Comment

Some of the products at the Bethesda Vapor Company, via Bethesda Vapor CompanyThe County Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that bans the use of electronic cigarettes in public places where traditional tobacco smoking is also prohibited.

The bill, meant to target the use of e-cigs by teens, also requires liquid nicotine containers used in the devices be in child-resistant packaging. It also bans the sale of e-cigs in vending machines or any other place where a seller is not needed to provide the product.

Councilmember Nancy Floreen sponsored the bill and said she was concerned with marketing and packaging meant to draw teenagers to vaping.

“The liquids that are used in these e-cigs, it’s like they could’ve been designed by Ben & Jerry’s,” Floreen said, comparing the flavored nicotine products to the ice cream maker known for its creative flavors and product names.

E-cigs first got on the Council’s radar last summer.

The County Council’s Health and Human Services Committee heard from a group of health experts in a session dedicated to learning about the battery-operated products that are increasing in popularity. E-cigs heat the liquid nicotine, along with flavors and other chemicals, into a vapor that the user inhales or “vapes.”

While the Food and Drug Administration has yet to regulate e-cig use, health officials say the nicotine found in the products is highly addictive, has “immediate bio-chemical effects on the brain and body at any dosage” and can be toxic.

The FDA has banned fruit and candy flavors from traditional cigarettes and many — including the National Association of Attorneys General — have urged it to do the same when it comes to e-cigarettes.

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by Aaron Kraut — March 3, 2015 at 9:40 am 0

The lane shift slated for a busy section of Rockville Pike near Cedar Lane has been delayed for the fourth time, thanks to the wintry mix of precipitation forecasted for later today.

The State Highway Administration said it will re-issue an updated traffic alert as soon as it has a new date for the shift.

“Our project engineering team will meet with the contractor performing the work and advise of a new date for the traffic shifts.  SHA will re-issue an updated traffic alert concerning the change as soon as new dates for the work become available,” read a SHA statement.

The SHA said the lane shift would’ve started at 7 p.m. Tuesday:

by Aaron Kraut — March 3, 2015 at 9:10 am 3 Comments

Pike & Rose along Old Georgetown Road in White FlintA “red carpet” guest speaker, “best of” tastes from area restaurants and three hours of networking are set for the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce’s “The Big Event!” next month at Pike & Rose in the White Flint/Pike District.

The Chamber will take over an empty floor of the development’s new office building for the first annual event it’s billing as “an explosion of brainstorming to boost business through better ideas and bigger successes.”

Pre-registration costs $10 per person for groups of five or more and $12 for individuals. Registration at the door will be $15 per person. All food is included in the price and there will be a cash or credit bar.

Those who pre-register will get an advance list of the other pre-registered attendees, as well as they’re “Needs & Leads” list.

“This event will be an annual showcase that truly celebrates the best of The Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase region, the businesses and the business people who have chosen to work, play and live here: from musical groups to restaurants to banks to accounting firms,” said Chamber Chairman Clyde Garrett in a press release. “This event from speaker to sponsor is a showcase for why this region is bursting with business success and vitality.”

The Chamber won’t reveal the speaker until April 1. The event will run from 4 p.m.-7:30 p.m. on April 22.

It will be another event Pike & Rose hosts at the office building (11810 Grand Park Avenue). Last month, a one-night audio and visual arts festival drew more than 3,000 to the space.

by Aaron Kraut — March 3, 2015 at 8:05 am 683 3 Comments

Flickr photo by ehpien

Pair Of Bethesda Row Restaurants Leaving – Parker’s (4824 Bethesda Avenue) and Tara Thai (4828 Bethesda Avenue) will both be leaving their Bethesda Row spots when their leases run out at the end of March. Parker’s is looking for a new location. [Bethesda Magazine]

Assisted Living Facilities Are Ousting Senior Residents – Springhouse of Bethesda (4925 Battery Lane) is closing by June 1 and 53 residents of the independent and assisted living facility must find new homes. The property owner, HCP Inc., is also selling its Springhouse Silver Spring property. Last year, it closed its Westbard location. Residents were offered moving expenses if they transferred to another of the company’s facilities but it’s unclear whether the company will make the same offer this time. The company is selling off a number of its properties. [The Gazette]

Education Budget Forums – Councilmember Craig Rice, MCPS Acting Chief Operating Officer Andrew Zuckerman and others are holding a series of forums around the county looking into the school system’s education budget. The forum closest to Bethesda will happen on March 23 at Churchill High School in Potomac. [Montgomery County Council]

BOE President Lashes Out Against Council Building Renovation – Board of Education President Patricia O’Neill criticized the County Council for considering a $31 million renovation project for the aging Council Office Building in Rockville. O’Neill argued the money should go to school construction. Council President George Leventhal countered by saying, “In the school system’s view, 100 percent of the budget should be available for school construction.” [Washington Post]

Flickr photo by ehpien

by Aaron Kraut — March 2, 2015 at 4:05 pm 222 0

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Montgomery County for most of Tuesday, with up to an inch of snow accumulation and a tenth of an inch of ice predicted:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT TUESDAY THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING…

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM TO 10 PM EST TUESDAY…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW…SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM TO 10 PM EST TUESDAY.

* LOCATIONS…THE BALTIMORE AND WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREAS AND NORTH CENTRAL MARYLAND.

* HAZARD TYPES…SNOW…SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN.

* ACCUMULATIONS…SNOW ACCUMULATION OF UP TO 1 INCH…ALONG WITH AROUND A TENTH OF AN INCH OF ICE.

* TIMING…TUESDAY MORNING THROUGH LATE TUESDAY EVENING.

* IMPACTS…ROADS WILL BE SNOW AND ICE COVERED. TRAVELLING WILL BE DANGEROUS.

* WINDS…SOUTHEAST 5 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 25 MPH.

* TEMPERATURES…IN THE UPPER 20S.

by Aaron Kraut — March 2, 2015 at 3:25 pm 466 1 Comment

MCPSWith plenty of sun and temperatures above 40 degrees, Monday might be the nicest “snow day” Montgomery County students have enjoyed in a long time.

But the school system’s move to close school on Monday might also mean an extra day of school tacked on to the end of the calendar in June.

Monday’s school cancellation was the fifth of the 2014-2015 school year, one more than the four inclement weather days MCPS builds into its schedule.

That means the school year could be continued to June 15, according to school system spokesperson Dana Tofig.

MCPS can apply for a waiver from the state not to have to make up the day to meet the minimum amount of school instruction days required. But getting a waiver from the state is never a sure thing.

Last year’s frequent snow and winter weather closings left the school year extended by two days and that came after a back-and-forth negotiation with the state schools superintendent.

To make matters potentially trickier: More winter weather is expected this week:

by Aaron Kraut — March 2, 2015 at 2:35 pm 271 0

The Gallery St. Elmo shop is moving to Cordell Avenue in mid-March

A popular furniture and accessory shop is moving to a new location within Woodmont Triangle.

Gallery St. Elmo, the mostly traditional-style consignment store at 4938 St Elmo Avenue, will make the move to a freshly remodeled space at 4931 Cordell Avenue in a few weeks, according to owner Jill Martin.

Martin said the landlord at the new Cordell Avenue space was willing to do a build-out and reconfigure the layout to the shop’s needs. It used to be home to Freed Photography, which recently moved to a new spot nearby.

“It will be very open with wide, tall ceilings,” Martin said. “We have been thinking about a move for a while. We’ve got a great band here and the store has been a Bethesda institution for 20 years.”

Inside the Gallery St. Elmo furniture consignment shop on St Elmo AvenueMartin took over ownership of the shop about four years ago after working their as an employee. It offers the pricey couches and chairs you’ll see at Ethan Allen, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel and others for up to a third or even half-off the original price. It also sells some antiques, contemporary furnishings and jewelry.

Martin has about 6,500 consigners in the store’s database and sends a weekly email detailing new stock to about 2,500 subscribers.

Martin said the thin and long St Elmo Avenue space — which used to include some sort of car garage — didn’t provide the ideal layout for the store.

“It’s always been somewhat of a challenge to get these front two rooms decorated. A lot of people don’t even recognize that the store continues through the doorway,” Martin said. “We have to tell people, ‘Keep going.’”

The store actually started out on Cordell Avenue under original owner Audrey Demas.

Martin said the last day in the St Elmo Avenue spot will be March 14, which will include a party and large sale. She plans to have the new Cordell Avenue location open on March 18.

by Aaron Kraut — March 2, 2015 at 1:40 pm 581 22 Comments

Rendering of Purple Line vehicle heading to Bethesda, Image via Maryland Transit Administration

A group of Purple Line supporters plan to protest a Monday night debate of the 16-mile light rail.

Members of the Action Committee for Transit will hold a rally in front of the AFI Cultural Center in Silver Spring, where a think tank called the Maryland Public Policy Institute is hosting “a nonpartisan debate on the proposed Purple Line and its alternatives.”

But ACT lashed out at the Policy Institute (MPPI) for including “anti-transit propagandist” Randal O’Toole, a senior fellow at the right-leaning Cato Institute who will argue against the project. Rich Parson, a lobbyist and vice chair of the Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance, will argue for the Purple Line.

ACT also criticized the $45 ticket price for the event.

“Given these biases and the $45 ticket, debating transit at an MPPI sponsored event is like playing football with the New England Patriots — and asking the Patriots to bring the football,” read an ACT press release.

Acting Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete Rahn was scheduled to attend the event and give opening remarks. But MPPI President Christopher Summers said Rahn had to back out because of his ongoing nomination process in Annapolis.

ACT members said they pressured Rahn to back out because of MPPI’s slant in opposition of the project. Rahn, Gov. Larry Hogan’s pick to take over as transportation chief, is reviewing the Purple Line for more cost efficient options.

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