The fence was live, energized by a faulty underground cable, which shot 270 volts of electricity though the 14-year-old’s body — resulting in her losing consciousness and her death later that night in May 2006.
Green’s parents, Nancy Green and former Baltimore Colts player Anthony “Bubba” Green, were in Rockville on Wednesday with other power regulation advocates to warn that an accident like it could happen again in Montgomery County, where Pepco has identified downtown Bethesda as one of three areas for special surveying of underground electrical systems.
“It happens more frequently than people know,” Nancy Green said. “Do not believe that it can’t happen to you, because we simply went to a softball game and my daughter didn’t come home.”
The Greens, along with Powerupmontco and Public Power for Montgomery County, urged the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) to make available reports from all power companies that detail the risk of “contact voltage” incidents, such as the one that killed Deanna Green.
Based on the Deanna Camille Green Act of 2012, all power companies in the state must identify Contact Voltage Risk Zones (CVRZs) — urbanized, popular areas in which worn underground electrical systems could cause contact voltage through manhole covers, light poles, water features or even a typical playground fence.
In 2004, a New York City woman was walking her dogs when one was electrocuted through a metal plate that had exposed wiring beneath it. The dog reacted violently and the woman was electrocuted and killed when she touched the dog to try and calm it down.
Powerupmontco’s Abbe Milstein, a frequent critic of Pepco and the PSC, said the state needs to beef up its contact voltage rules, requiring power companies to survey monthly instead of yearly and expanding the types of objects that need to be surveyed. Eric Hensal, a public power advocate with Public Power for Montgomery County, said he intends to ask Montgomery County for evidence that Pepco has surveyed, since the survey would require help from the county to check county-owned infrastructure and right-of-ways.
Police have identified as a Rockville man as the suspect behind a pair of PNC Bank robberies last week after the man was caught after attempting a third PNC Bank robbery in D.C.
Police say Leonard Forrest, 47, of the 11300 block of Schuylkill Road in Rockville, was arrested on Dec. 6 by Metropolitan Police after committing his third bank robbery in a week at a PNC Bank in the District.
Detectives determined Forrest was the same man who committed the Dec. 2 robbery at a PNC Bank inside the Giant Food store at Montrose Crossing Shopping Center and the Dec. 4 robbery at the location in the Wildwood Shopping Center.
Police obtained a search warrant of Forrest’s house and said they found “numerous items of evidentiary value” that linked him to the bank robberies in Bethesda and North Bethesda.
Forrest is now in custody in D.C. An arrest warrant in Montgomery County will be served upon his return, police said.
In both Montgomery County robberies, police said Forrest entered the bank, approached the teller and presented a note demanding money. Police said Forrest implied that he was armed during the Giant Food robbery on Dec. 2. The suspect got an undisclosed amount of cash in both robberies.
Photo via Montgomery County Police
My Two Cents is a weekly opinion column from Bethesda resident Joseph Hawkins. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BethesdaNow.com.
I’m closing out the year by profiling 13 individuals who made Bethesda a better place to live, work and play in 2013. Seven individuals are profiled this week and the remaining six will come next Wednesday:
Nancy Leopold, CollegeTracks (5126 Manning Dr.) Nancy has kept CollegeTracks up and running for 10 years now. Getting underprivileged teens in college and making sure they graduate, is super important work. It is not too late for a 2013 donation.
Fred Namin, Cork 47 (4910 Bethesda Ave.) What would life be without a great bottle of wine? Thanks to Fred and his staff for all their great recommendations. But for the record, I’m still not sold on Maryland reds.
Dale Trupp, Fashion Craft Cleaners (5448 Westbard Ave.) What would life be without a perfectly pressed dressed shirt? Dale and his twin brother Darryl have been known to remove a few red wine stains over the years.
Janine Narayadu, Massage Meta (4709 Montgomery Lane) Bethesda is literally loaded with massage options. I think I’ve tried to tire them all (well not all — there are some unsavory establishments even in Bethesda), but I’m stuck on Janine because she is serious about getting the knots out. Janine, congratulations on the expanding business and the new location.
Irma, Vace (4705-07 Miller Ave.) I would not have guessed it, but Irma has been at the Bethesda Vace location for 32 years. Most customers think she’s the owner — she isn’t. She simply is the “saintly” woman behind the counter dishing out deliciousness.
Rick Brown, Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club (7719 Wisconsin Ave.) Kudos to owner Rick Brown for keeping our feet tapping to the beat. If Bethesda is home and you love live music, you owe it to yourself to check out live music at the Supper Club. And the supper is pretty good as well.
Miguel and Maria Gaona, Bethesda Barbershop (7219 Arlington Rd.) I profiled Miguel and Maria Gaona in a November column. I’m praising them both again because they are great examples of how individuals set out to make a simple living — cutting hair — for themselves and their families and end up contributing so much more to Bethesda.
Joseph Hawkins is a longtime Bethesda resident who remembers when there was no Capital Crescent Trail. He works full-time for an employee-owned social science research firm located Montgomery County. He is a D.C. native and for nearly 10 years, he wrote a regular column for the Montgomery Journal. He also has essays and editorials published in Education Week, the Washington Post, and Teaching Tolerance Magazine. He is a serious live music fan and is committed to checking out some live act at least once a month.
The United States Postal Service on Tuesday revealed the four options it’s looking at for a replacement for the White Flint Mall Post Office.
In a letter (see below) to Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Director Ken Hartman, USPS real estate specialist Rick Hancock wrote that a Site Review Committee officially ruled out staying or relocating within White Flint Mall.
“The Mall redevelopment will not be completed for 2-3 years,” Hancock wrote. “It is not an operationally feasible or economically viable alternative to operate a Postal facility in a construction redevelopment site.”
The Committee also apparently looked at, then ruled out Metro Pike Center. It’s slated for redevelopment.
The four options still on the table, and subject to a 30-day public commenting period are:
– 5420 Edson Lane
– 5000-5060 Nicholson Lane (Nicholson Plaza)
– 11760 Parklawn Drive — (Parklawn Commerce Center)
– 11601-11631 Nebel Street — (Flint Hill Building)
All four of the sites are in the 20852 zip code. Thanks to a bizarrely drawn zip code map, the existing White Flint Mall post office is in the Kensington zip of 20895. Many in the urbanizing White Flint area would like a zip code of their own.
Hancock has said the main concerns for a new post office building are finding a five-year lease and a site with enough parking and access for mail trucks.
See the letter for instructions on how to submit comments.
Meanwhile, there has been no progress on finding a location for a second Bethesda post office. Hartman reports the Postal Service is still looking for a site that is both economically viable and operationally feasible.
Smashburger will open today (Wednesday) in Woodmont Triangle, a few blocks away from a BGR The Burger Joint, across town from a Five Guys and less than two months after Bobby’s Burger Palace.
The rapidly growing Denver-based chain thinks there’s plenty of room for more burgers in Bethesda. At a media preview on Tuesday, the restaurant showed off the food and the partnership with Bethesda-based Honest Tea it hopes can set it apart.
“There’s plenty of business for burgers. There are differentiating factors within the better burger segment if you look at Shake Shack, if you look at BurgerFi, if you look at some of the local chains,” said Stacie Lange, Smashburger spokesperson. “But we all identify one thing in common and that is: People are more passionate about the better burgers.”
Smashburger’s claim to a better burger is the meat — 100 percent certified Angus beef — and the process — smashing the beef into burger form on a 400-degree flat grill to retain flavor.
The 63-seat space (4903 Cordell Ave.) will offer a classic cheeseburger, barbecue, bacon and cheddar burger, truffle mushroom burger, “regionally-inspired” Capital Burger and a spicy vegetarian black bean burger that can be mixed and matched with different toppings. The “better burger” play also includes salads and chicken sandwiches and veggie frites, french fries, sweet potato fries, haystack onions and the secret menu fried pickle option.
The burgers range from $4.99 to $6.99.
Part of the Tuesday event was Honest Tea co-founder and CEO Seth Goldman, who started the company around the corner from Smashburger in Woodmont Triangle before moving to Bethesda Avenue.
It’s purchase by Coca Cola has allowed the company an avenue to distribution through some large national chains. Smashburger will be the first to brew Honest Tea’s teas on a national scale.
“Most restaurants, when they sell tea, it’s really just like powder and a syrup and water and that’s what they call team,” Goldman said. “This is real tea leaves coming in, brewed the right way, sweetened with organic cane sugar. It’s also fair trade certified. A portion of the sales goes back to the community where they produce this. On that side, they’ve been increasing their supply. On our side, this helps us increase our demand.”
Smashburger will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Upstairs, Roof is expected to open to the public on Dec. 20.
Developer Buys Ranger Surplus Block — D.C.-based Douglas Development Corp. recently bought the 8004-8006 Wisconsin Avenue properties and 8013 Woodmont Avenue for $9.2 million, with plans for redevelopment work to start in 2015. The block includes Ranger Surplus, Bethesda Valet and the KNL Beer & Wine, the beer and wine store in the house on Woodmont Avenue. The redevelopment will likely be an apartment over ground-floor retail. JBG Cos. previously had a deal to build Montgomery County a new 2nd District Police Station on the site, but backed out of the deal after it was unable to purchase all the properties. [Washington Business Journal]
Gansler Campaign “Erroneously” Lists 2 Endorsers — Hours after releasing a list of 43 endorsements from Montgomery County elected officials, the campaign of gubernatorial hopeful Doug Gansler removed the names of two local pols: Del. Jeff Waldstreicher and State Sen. Rogger Manno. Waldstreicher said his name was “erroneously listed.” A few hours later, he endorsed Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, one of Gansler’s opponents. [Washington Post]
More Students Take AP Tests, Not As Many Get College Credit — The number of students in Montgomery County Public Schools who took AP (Advanced Placement) exams last year rose from about 16,800 in 2012 to about 17,000. But the number of students who scored a 3 or higher on the 5-point grading scale — thus earning college credit — fell to 73 percent, two percentage points lower than 2012. [The Gazette]
Watch For Icy Conditions Today — Wet roads became icy roads as Tuesday’s snow tapered off and temperatures dropped. State salt trucks were still out to prevent dangerous spots and the State Highway Administration is encouraging folks to be careful during the morning commute Wednesday. [State Highway Administration]
Flickr photo by caldwellbiddle
Fiona Gathright’s company needed space to grow. It also needed a space that better reflected what her company was selling.
Gathright’s Wellness Corporate Solutions, one of the country’s 500 fastest growing companies, moved from Cabin John to the office space at 7617 Arlington Rd. in September. The new downtown Bethesda headquarters allows more space (about 10,000 square feet compared to 4,500 square feet) and a Metro commute for her employees.
It also allowed the company, which provides cholesterol screenings, blood pressure screenings, health coaching and other services to corporate clients, to retrofit the space with adjustable stand-sit desks and even a desk connected to a walking treadmill.
“A lot of businesses have recognized the health of your employees has a lot to do with your healthcare costs and has lots to do with productivity,” Gathright said. “If we can help educate and engage and empower people to lead healthier lifestyles, then the employers’ healthcare costs are going to go down and you’re going to have a more productive, healthier workforce.”
Gathright cited the oft-used statistic: 70 percent of healthcare spending in the U.S. is due to lifestyle, a category that includes obesity.
“For example, once we find someone is pre-diabetic or diabetic, we help employers reach out to that employee and help them manage their weight or their cholesterol,” Gathright said.
Workdays at Wellness Corporate include five-minute cardio workouts. The staff is at about 70 employees, up from about 50 last year. According to Inc. Magazine, which ranked Wellness Corporate as the No. 357 fastest growing, the firm posted $9.3 million in revenue in 2012.
The company’s clients include Marriott, Discovery Communications, Hilton and National Public Radio. Gathright co-founded the company with Juliet Rodman in 2004 and it now has offices in Atlanta and Chicago.
On Tuesday, she joined with representatives from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon cutting.
“We’re very excited to be here,” Gathright said. “It has made it a lot easier for our employees and we also wanted to be closer to our clients. We had really outgrown our space.”
Police on Tuesday said Daniel Mandel Sirotkin, 30, of the 17300 block of Autumn Harvest Court in Germantown, has been charged with two counts of Sex Abuse of a Minor and three counts of Third Degree Sex Offense after MCPS school officials notified police of a private tutor and athletic coach engaging in inappropriate contact with students.
The charges stem from alleged incidents with one victim, according to charging documents. The abuse occurred multiple times from 2011 to 2013, according to the documents.
According to police, Sirotkin was hired by parents to coach and tutor students from several private and public schools in the Bethesda and Potomac areas.
Sirotkin, who was a honorable mention on the 2001 All-Gazette Wrestling Team at Quince Orchard, is listed as an assistant coach for the Good Counsel High School wrestling team in Olney. Good Counsel President Paul Barker said Sirotkin coached at the school in the past but is not a wrestling coach there this year.
He was listed as the head coach of a club travel team during the 2010-2011 season of the Viking and BCC Mat Club, which practiced at the Landon School. Michael Lerner, director of the what is now the Viking Mat Club, said he had no idea about the allegations against Sirotkin and indicated Sirotkin no longer coaches with the club.
“I’ve already recreated the lists from way back when and I’m going to pull all the parents to see if anyone had anything fishy going on,” Lerner said. “I certainly didn’t know about anything.”
Police say Sirotkin has been tutoring and coaching high school students for several years and, in a press release, encouraged any parent of child who feels he engaged in inappropriate behavior to call the Family Crimes Division at 240-773-5400.
Photo via Montgomery County Police
The nearly 100 thefts from vehicles in November was the highest monthly total this year in the District, Falcinelli said. For the first half of the year, thefts from vehicles were one of the few crimes that increased compared to the same period of time in 2012. Police recorded a 20 percent drop in robberies, 20 percent drop in aggravated assaults and 23 percent drop in residential burglaries.
But the thefts from vehicles continue to be a problem, one that typically gets worse during holiday shopping season.
“When you shop, hide your items in the trunk and take them immediately into your home,” Falcinelli wrote in a crime update last week. “This is a very prevalent crime this time of year and thieves will generally ignore a locked car with nothing worth stealing visible and move on to the unlocked one.”
Falcinelli also warned of a recent phone scam in which someone claims to be a police officer and asks for money so the victim can avoid arrest. A second scam is someone “from a utility company threatening to cut off power unless you wire cash immediately.”
The Montgomery County Police Department does not solicit money. Be sure to ask for company and contact information if you are unsure of a caller.
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