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by Aaron Kraut — December 19, 2014 at 4:35 pm 0

Bear climbs down tree near NIH/Medical Center Metro (file photo) Clyde's Tower Oaks Lodge restaurant, via Facebook I-270 shut down in March as police search for bank robbery suspects, via TrafficLand.com

As 2015 approaches, we’ll look back at 2014 by reviewing some of the top local stories and trends that defined Bethesda this year.

First, what was popular? Following are BethesdaNow.com’s top five most read stories in 2014. Check back next week for more, including a look at the storylines that could be prominent in 2015:

No. 5 | Vince & Dominic’s Closes After 31 Years In Bethesda | 8,006 pageviews 

The venerable pizza shop certainly wasn’t fancy, which many of its longtime fans seemed to appreciate. The shop, stuffed into a strip shopping center near a Home Depot, closed in May after claiming its landlord decided not to renew its lease. That set off an outpouring of love for the place known for its simple menu and Kosher for Passover pizzas.

No. 4 | Cops Stop Traffic On I-270 To Catch Bank Robbery Suspects | 11,946 pageviews

A group of alleged bank robbers were heading south on I-270 near the Capital Beltway when police decided to use an unusual tactic to catch them: Stop traffic on both ways of the busy highway and search car-by-car.

Though police wouldn’t confirm it at the time, the bag of stolen cash had a GPS locator in it. That allowed authorities to know roughly where the alleged robbers were. Police said that when the suspects realized why traffic was stopped, they tossed the bag of cash in a dump truck nearby.

No. 3 | Bear Gets Stuck In A Tree At NIH | 13,865 pageviews

A black bear that had strayed too far south sparked a minor sensation when it got scared, climbed up a large tree at the NIH campus and then refused to come down until scared from its perch by firecrackers.

After an hours-long standoff, and with a gaggle of reporters hoping to catch the bear’s every move, the animal was finally tranquilized by Department of Natural Resources officials and safely returned to a more suitable habitat far away from Bethesda. In the meantime, someone started an NIH Bear Twitter account that exists to this day.

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by Aaron Kraut — December 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm 364 0

Photo via @mcfrsPIO

Updated at 5:05 p.m. – Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service units are on the scene of an outdoor natural gas line break in the Friendship Heights section of Chevy Chase.

The gas line break was reported near the intersection of Willard Avenue and Shoemaker Farm Lane just before 4 p.m. It was apparently the result of work from a construction crew on-site.

Shoemaker Farm Lane and Willard Avenue are shut down as MCFRS responds. Willard Avenue has been shut down west of Wisconsin Avenue all the way to its intersection with North Park Avenue.

MCFRS spokesperson Pete Piringer said less than 12 people in buildings near the gas leak have been evacuated.

The area is being cleared until gas company officials can turn off the line.

Photo via @mcfrsPIO

by Aaron Kraut — December 19, 2014 at 3:20 pm 983 7 Comments

The Chase At Bethesda, via The Chase at Bethesda(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) The Board of Directors at a luxury Bethesda condo claims a man climbed up the outside of the building and entered an unlocked unit last weekend.

According to an alert sent to all residents at The Chase at Bethesda (7500 Woodmont Avenue), the incident took place in the early morning hours of Saturday, Dec. 13.

The man, apparently drunk, got into a unit on the fifth floor of the building by climbing up the balconies “until he found a balcony that was unlocked.”

Montgomery County Police were notified of the incident and the Board told residents that it is working closely with the department. There were no signs of forced entry into the unit.

Capt. David Falcinelli, commander of the Montgomery County’s 2nd Police District, said police were told the suspect was known to the security officer at the building. It was treated as a trespassing with a written report but no arrest.

“It is not an ongoing issue where the public needs to worry,” Falcinelli said.

The full text of the alert is after the jump:

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by Dan Reed — December 19, 2014 at 2:15 pm 866 3 Comments

Flickr photo by RK & Tina  Bethesda Metro Station

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BethesdaNow.com.

I’ve never lived in Bethesda. Growing up in Silver Spring, I relished the rivalry (real or imagined) we have with our friends across Rock Creek Park.

So when I took Bainbridge Bethesda’s “How Bethesda are you?” quiz, I fully expected the answer to be, “Not at all.”

Eight questions later, I was horrified to discover that I was “Bethesda to the MAX!” A little photo popped up of a woman using a MacBook Pro on a park bench, next to a bag from Whole Foods. “Your skin oozes pure Bethesda,” said the quiz. “When someone looks up “Bethesda” in the dictionary, they’ll see a picture of your face.”

How could this be? I did, in fact, go to Whole Foods last night, and I am writing this on a MacBook Pro. But many of us living in Silver Spring pride ourselves on being the opposite of Bethesda, or at least of the Bethesda stereotype: rich, privileged, entitled.

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by BethesdaNow.com Sponsor — December 19, 2014 at 1:05 pm 1 Comment

WWBG

Editor’s Note: This column is sponsored by Georgetown Square Wine and Beer (10400 Old Georgetown Rd.).

This column was written by Georgetown Square Wine and Beer customer Garrett Cruce. Follow his beer travels on Instagram.

Oskar Blues was born 15 years ago when founder Dale Katechis and his wife visited the Rockies in Colorado. They decided to put down roots and a classic craft beer brand was born. They recently expanded to North Carolina, allowing Oskar Blues to expand its market east of the Mississippi River

Oskar Blues is a can-only brewery and at the forefront of the craft can movement. The aluminum can has the dual benefit of protecting the beer inside from UV light and from oxygen. Even now, when many breweries with local and national reach are going to cans, Oskar Blues stands out.

There’s more to their appeal than the can — Oskar Blues makes beer that is loved from coast to coast. Whether it’s their IPAs, their formidable stout or that classic pale, they make something that ranks on most craft beer drinker’s list of favorites.

Come up to the Downtown Crown Beer and Wine store in Gaithersburg, sister store to Georgetown Square Beer and Wine, for the Oskar Blues Brewery Tap Takeover Pint Night tonight, Dec. 19th, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Seven awesome OB beers will be on tap: Dale’s Pale Ale, Mama’s Little Yella Pils, Old Chub, G’Knight, Deviant Dale’s, Ten FIDY, and IceyPA (For the first time in the area!). Every Oskar Blues purchase you make enters you into a raffle to win a pair of amazing Oskar Blues-themed snow skis!

Let’s look four of the beers that will be featured on tap tonight and that are available in stores right now.

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by Aaron Kraut — December 19, 2014 at 11:35 am 3 Comments

Bethesda Cares Executive Director Sue Kirk (left) accepts a donation from Bold Bite's Maria Roche on ThursdayThe nonprofit helping to find permanent housing for Bethesda’s homeless got a holiday gift from a local business on Thursday.

Bold Bite, the hot dog, hamburger and breakfast place at 4901 Fairmont Avenue, raised $110 for homeless prevention nonprofit Bethesda Cares by dedicating 30 percent of its sales on one night last week.

Thanks to a connection to one of Bethesda Cares’ board members, Bold Bite’s Maria Roche and husband Alonso Roche came up with the idea.

She said the partnership made sense, considering Bethesda Cares (7728 Woodmont Avenue) is right around the corner. Sue Kirk, the nonprofit’s executive director, and Amy Freeman, its development director, also happen to be regular customers.

On Monday, Bold Bite kept the giving going by donating 30 percent of its dinner sales to nonprofit DC Central Kitchen.

Thursday was also the annual Goodwill Dinner at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad. The county’s Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce and the Bethesda Hyatt helped cook and serve meals for almost 400 in-need individuals and their families in the Bethesda area.

All who attended, including some Bethesda Cares clients, got winter hats, gloves and scarves. Children got toys and a chance to get photos with Santa.

Interested in donating or helping out Bethesda Cares this holiday season?

Contact Freeman at amy[at]bethesdacares[dot]org. Bethesda Cares will also host a special holiday meal program on Saturday at Bethesda Presbyterian Church (7611 Clarendon Road), complete with volunteer carol singers.

by Aaron Kraut — December 19, 2014 at 10:55 am 0

Montgomery County sealAll county government buildings and offices will be closed for Christmas on Thursday, Dec. 25 and New Year’s Day on Thursday, Jan. 1.

For restaurants that will be open on Christmas Day, check out our list here. For New Year’s Eve events, check out our list here.

Now, for details on the holiday closings and schedule changes:

County Offices — Closed

Libraries — Closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1; all branches will close at 6 p.m. on Dec. 24 and 31

County liquor stores — Closed

Recreation — All facilities closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1; senior centers, community and neighborhood recreation centers will be closed Dec. 25 through Jan. 1; aquatics programs operating on a modified schedule, contact each facility directly

Montgomery Parks — All Parks facilities are closed both days. For operating schedules during the holidays, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks, tennis centers, trains and carousels, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org.

Ride On, Metrobus and Metrorail — Sunday schedule; more Metrorail details here.

TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) — Closed

Refuse/recycling pickup – No collection. Regular Thursday collections will be provided on Friday and regular Friday collections will be provided on Saturday.

Shady Grove Transfer Station — Closed; Transfer Station will close at 5 p.m. on Dec. 24.

Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters — Free. County government wants to remind those who leave their cars in county lots while out of town to double-check that they are parking in a long-term space. Montgomery County also says it’s not liable for theft or vandalism that may occur.

MCPS Administrative Offices — Closed

State offices and courts — Closed

by BethesdaNow.com — December 19, 2014 at 10:25 am 1 Comment

Gift Local BethesdaToday’s prize in our inaugural Gift Local contest comes from us.

That’s right, the winner of our drawing in just a few hours will get an Apple iPad Air (a $399 value) from BethesdaNow.com just in time for the holidays.

All you have to do to be eligible is sign up for our daily email newsletter. The free newsletter delivers Bethesda Now headlines to your inbox on weekday (and some weekend) afternoons.

If you’re one of our more than 1,300 existing newsletter subscribers, you’re automatically eligible to win. See our official contest rules for an alternate means of entry and other sweepstakes details.

Next Friday, we’ll award our last prize, five free fitness classes from Next Phase Group Ex.

Please join us in supporting this new local business and other local businesses when doing your last-second holiday shopping and making New Year’s resolutions.

Good luck and happy holidays from Bethesda Now!

by Aaron Kraut — December 19, 2014 at 9:30 am 0

Check out our picks for open houses this weekend around Bethesda.

See our Real Estate section for a full listing of open houses and houses for sale:

5205 Rayland Drive5205 Rayland Drive
5 BD | 3.5 BA single family detached
Carl Becker, Premier Properties
Listed: $979,000
Open: Sunday, Dec. 21 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

7526 Westlake Terrace7526 Westlake Terrace
4 BD | 3.5 BA condominium
Nimrod Shmul, Realty Pros
Listed: $558,000
Open: Sunday, Dec. 21 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

7807 Aberdeen Road7807 Aberdeen Road
5 BD | 5.5 BA single family detached
Jeremy Lichtenstein, Re/Max Realty
Listed: $2,195,000
Open: Sunday, Dec. 21 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

5218 Nahant Street5218 Nahant Street
5 BD | 4.5 BA single family detached
Hans Wydler, Long & Foster Real Estate
Listed: $1,729,000
Open: Sunday, Dec. 21 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

by Aaron Kraut — December 19, 2014 at 8:45 am 0

Sentencing Postponed On Montgomery Mall Road Rage Stabbing – A Potomac man convicted in a road rage-fueled double stabbing last year at Westfield Montgomery mall had his sentencing postponed until Jan….

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