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by BethesdaNow.com — October 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm 1,161 0

UPDATE (9:45 a.m.): Police say that Gregory Burkart’s family located him alive and unharmed on Wednesday. The family notified police at approximately 6:15 p.m.

Montgomery County Police are searching for a missing Bethesda man who left his home early this morning without taking any of his personal belongings.

Police say Gregory Gerhart Burkart, 48, of the 5900 block of Melvern Dr. left his house around 4 a.m. today without taking his keys, wallet, ID or cell phone.

Police described family as concerned for his well-being.

Burkart is a white male, 5-foot-6 weighing approximately 140 pounds. He wears glasses and has brown balding hair.

He’s believed to be wearing a tan light-weight jacket, a white t-shirt, blue sweatpants and tan moccasin slippers.

Detectives are asking anyone with information about Burkart to contact the police at 301-279-8000.

by BethesdaNow.com — October 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm 601 0

A host of Bethesda politicians, including State Sen. Richard Madaleno (D-Dist. 18), the first openly gay Maryland state senator, are hosting a fundraiser on Sunday to raise money for Marylanders For Marriage Equality.

The group is campaigning for Question 6 on November’s ballot, a referendum which would allow same-sex couples in Maryland to marry.

The event, at The Oakville Grille (10257 Old Georgetown Rd.), will include Attorney General Doug Gansler (D), State Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Dist. 16), Delegate Bill Frick (D-Dist. 16), Delegate Ariana Kelly (D-Dist. 16), Delegate Susan Lee (D-Dist. 16), Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-Dist. 18), Delegate Al Carr (D-Dist. 18) and Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher (D-Dist. 18).

Guests are being asked for donations of $100, $250, $500 or $1,000.

A poll last week showed 49 percent of voters were for same-sex marriage, while 39 percent were opposed.

The referendum is one of three major ballot questions. Statewide, voters will also decide on the Maryland DREAM Act and a measure to expand gambling by allowing a Las Vegas-style casino in Prince George’s County and live table games in the state’s existing casinos.

by BethesdaNow.com — October 3, 2012 at 11:30 am 614 0

As part of “Come Back to Bethesda Day” this Saturday, a local couple put together a motorcycle ride to benefit the Children’s Inn at NIH, a charity that houses sick children and their families seeking treatment at NIH.

Lockheed Martin executive Adrienne Ward and her boyfriend wanted to put together a charity motorcycle ride to celebrate their love of bikes and a local organization doing good.

Ward’s experience in the federal contracting world brought her to the Children’s Inn, the group putting on the annual Come Back to Bethesda Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., in conjunction with Taste of Bethesda.

“Both my boyfriend and I have kids and we couldn’t imagine what we’d do if we had to deal with the types of situations these kids and families are in,” Ward said.

All the proceeds from the event, there’s a $25 single rider registration fee and $40  two up fee, will go the Children’s Inn.

Ward promoted the event through local motorcycle shops and so far has received a decent response. About 25 riders are registered for the first annual event and she’s expecting more to show up on the day of.

The ride will start at 8 a.m. at the Rockville Regal Cinemas (199 E. Montgomery Ave., Rockville) and proceed to the Children’s Inn event near the Chevy Chase Acura dealer (7725 Wisconsin Ave.)

For more information on the ride, visit the event’s website.

by BethesdaNow.com — October 3, 2012 at 10:30 am 1,145 1 Comment

Eric Friedman has fielded complaints about aggressive trespass towing for years and despite much publicity about towing practices in private parking lots, the problem isn’t subsiding.

As Montgomery County officials and the County Attorney’s Office figure out how to implement the state’s new towing laws, Friedman, director of the Office of Consumer Protection, says Bethesda’s problem could get worse.

“We would expect things are only going to get worse in Bethesda. With all the construction, we’re losing some of the parking lots,” Friedman said. “We have a post office in Bethesda that has no parking, yet it’s right next to a parking lot for a mattress store and a Verizon store. The number of complaints has stayed consistent.”

Friedman is hosting an online chat Tuesday, Oct. 9 titled “What You Need to Know About Towing in Montgomery County.”

A few days ago, the Office of Consumer Protection got a complaint from a man who parked in a parking lot at supply store Staples. The man said he went in and purchased something from Staples then quickly stopped at a shop nearby to pick up a pizza.

When he returned to his car, it was being loaded onto a tow truck. The tow tuck driver identified him as a walk-off, meaning his car was parked in the private Staples lot but he strayed from Staples.

“That was a $50 pizza,” Friedman said.

Tow companies can charge up to $50 to release a car if a driver returns to the car before it is towed out of a parking lot.

Friedman said many don’t know that rule and think tow truck operators are eliciting a bribe before towing the car away.

The maximum fine for retrieval of a car once it gets to a tow company’s lot is $168.

Friedman said the new state law makes things more complicated. Many of the regulations mirror ones already in effect in Montgomery County.

County attorneys are preparing a comparison chart to present to the state, with the hopes of clarifying how the new rules will work.

by BethesdaNow.com — October 3, 2012 at 9:30 am 858 0

A Bethesda-based landscaping company focused on eco-friendly lawn care hopes that a pitch at last week’s Startup Maryland bus tour will lead to more investment.

Zack Kline, the Rockville native who started A.I.R. Lawn Care in the Bethesda Green business incubator, presented his strategy for providing “green” services in an industry known for anything but environmentally sound practices.

The idea for the company, which uses electric blowers, mowers and trimmers, came to Kline as he worked a large lot for a landscaping company while in school. Kline’s task was to use a gas-powered trimmer to edge the property.

“I just became annoyed and irritated at all the air and noise pollution this thing was putting off,” Kline said.

He won a startup competition at his school then started A.I.R. last summer with eight clients, all neighbors and friends whose lawns he had cut for some extra money while growing up.

This summer his client base grew to 20, including lawns in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring, North Potomac and Rockville.

He said he had to turn down potential clients, which told him it was time to grow the one-man business into something bigger.

The video pitch on the bus at last week’s Startup Maryland event at Bethesda Green could be a start.

The videos of Kline and others pitching their businesses will go on Youtube this month. A jury will trim down the more than 100 entries to eight who will receive extra pitch training and a chance to attend a November entrepreneur expo.

The winner and runner-up will get spots to pitch their startups at major investor events in 2013.

“I started mowing laws just because I enjoyed it,” Kline said. “Then I saw how it was done and I thought there’s got to be a better way.”

by BethesdaNow.com — October 3, 2012 at 8:30 am 1,104 0

B-CC High School Drops Color Day — After last year’s homecoming tradition led to on-campus drinking and a series of fights, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School principal Karen Lockard replaced the event this year by reviving “Blue and Gold Day.” Lockard said an increase in the school’s population made Color Day dangerous. [The Gazette]

Group Tries To Rob Boy In Capital Crescent Tunnel — A group of six juveniles attempted to rob a boy Saturday night in the Capital Crescent Trail Tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue before assaulting him. Police wouldn’t detail his injuries or describe the suspects. [Bethesda Patch]

TV President Selling Bethesda Mansion — Black Entertainment Television President Scott Mills and wife Iva have put their six bedroom, 10 bathroom Bethesda mansion on the market. Asking price is $2.7 million. [Curbed DC]

Math Tutoring Company Moving Into Fairmont — Mathnasium, the math learning center, is moving into the Fairmont Avenue space next to the future Take 5 Boutique. [Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row]

Come Back to Bethesda Day — The Children’s Inn at NIH is putting on the 22nd annual Come Back to Bethesda Day, complete with an old car show, live music, motorcycle ride and Suburban Hospital flu shot clinic, to go along with the Taste of Bethesda on Saturday. [The Children's Inn at NIH]

Flickr pool photo by AmyMarieMoore. Hat tip to @202Realtor

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