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by BethesdaNow.com — October 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm 1,370 1 Comment

The much anticipated Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club is targeting a late December opening, but might end up debuting in January 2013, club director Ralph Camilli said last weekend.

Camilli was at the Taste of Bethesda on Saturday, where the club had a tent serving jambalaya and other options from its under construction spot in the old Bethesda Theatre on Wisconsin Avenue.

In his quarterly update to the County Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee on Thursday, County Economic Development Chief Steve Silverman said club owner Rick Brown told him the opening would likely come in 2013.

The county has not made any economic contribution to the project, Silverman told the committee.

The theater, at 7719 Wisconsin Ave., was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999 in part for its Streamline Moderne architecture.

Camilli, who managed well known Washington D.C. clubs The Cellar Door and Blues Alley, said the club hit some speed bumps before beginning construction on the auditorium, which underwent a major renovation in 2007 that changed it from movie theater to space for theatrical productions.

Flickr photo by PLCjr

by BethesdaNow.com — October 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,403 1 Comment

(UPDATED AT 2:45 p.m.) Maryland Transportation Administration officials told a County Council committee today they have designed a five- to seven-foot sidewalk along the Purple Line in the Capital Crescent Trail tunnel.

Use of the tunnel has been a contentious issue leading up to and since the County’s decision to reroute the popular Capital Crescent Trail biking and running trail in the tunnel now to Bethesda streets. That would make room for the Purple Line light rail system, which is planned to run from Bethesda to New Carrollton with stops in Silver Spring and College Park.

Mike Madden, Purple Line project manager for MTA, told the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee that the sidewalk would not be big enough for bikers to continue using the tunnel trail, but that it would allow bikers on the trail to walk their bikes to the trail connection on the other side of Wisconsin Avenue.

Councilwoman Nancy Floreen (D-Garrett Park) praised the MTA for their efforts but asked the agency to continue pushing to make the path as wide as possible.

Council President Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac) also praised Madden and his team.

Madden added the MTA could be able to run the entire Capital Crescent Trail under the tunnel, depending on possible redevelopment of the above Apex Building and Air Rights Center.

The MTA previously argued it would be too costly to rebuild the trail along the light rail in the tunnel.

Ajay Bhatt, President of the Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail, said no matter the size of the walkway, the value of the trail will be lost.

“First they said they’re going to keep the trail in the tunnel, then they said they can’t put the trail side-by-side, now it is a five-foot sidewalk,” Bhatt said. “So what are they going to say next week? How do we know what they’re saying is what they know they can afford and design? Clearly, the Purple Line on the trail destroys the trail, getting rid of 20 acres of park inside the Beltway that is irreplaceable.”

Madden and engineers also presented plans for the Bethesda Metro South Entrance that would connect Metro riders with the Bethesda Purple Line station at Elm Street and Wisconsin Avenue.

Madden presented a potential design of the Chevy Chase Lake Station at Connecticut Avenue. The current design would provide for an arch bridge over Connecticut Avenue for both the Purple Line and the Capital Crescent Trail.

All this came against the backdrop of uncertain funding for the projected $1.9 billion project. The final designs and the start of construction could be years away.

Councilman George Leventhal (D-Takoma Park) joined the committee meeting on Thursday. Yesterday, he told the Washington Examiner he was worried the project wouldn’t receive the necessary funding.

Flickr photo by thisisbossi

by BethesdaNow.com — October 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm 1,102 0

State Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Bethesdsa-Chevy Chase) today announced a long list of Maryland Democratic heavyweights who will be on his exploratory committee for a 2014 run at Maryland Attorney General.

The list of supporters includes County Executive Isiah Leggett, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, State Sen. Mike Miller, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, former Governors Parris Glendening and Harry Hughes and former Attorney General Stephen Sachs.

It does not include State Delegate Bill Frick, a fellow Bethesda state house representative who was rumored to be seeking the Attorney General seat on his own.

Attorney General Doug Gansler is rumored to be targeting the Democratic nomination for Governor, leaving the seat open.

State Sen. Jamie Raskin, of Takoma Park, was another rumored potential Attorney General candidate but has since thrown his support behind Frosh. Raskin and County Council members Roger Berliner, George Leventhal, Marc Elrich, Valerie Ervin and Nancy Floreen are also on the committee.

“Brian’s compassion, independence and integrity have been apparent to us in Montgomery County for many years. He has been the state leader on protecting our environment and ensuring that we have a fair and impartial judiciary that protects the rights of all Marylanders,” Leggett said in the announcement on Frosh’s website. “I am pleased to offer my wholehearted support to him in the race for Attorney General.”

Frosh is holding an Annapolis fundraiser in November he said will focus on his work on environmental issues.

by BethesdaNow.com — October 11, 2012 at 12:20 pm 1,652 5 Comments

North Bethesda residents Brandon Yu and Alex Middel were tired of waiting for late night Metro service or paying for taxis back from bar spots in Washington D.C., so they came up with what they say is a much needed alternative.

Last weekend, the pair of Winston Churchill High School grads introduced The DC Hopper, a late night shuttle service catered exclusively to those who want to make the trip from Bethesda to Dupont Circle or Georgetown without waiting for Metro trains or taxi drivers that will make the drive across the District line at the end of the night.

The system of 30-passenger mini buses will make stops at the corner of St. Elmo Avenue and Norfolk Avenue on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., with final pick ups in Georgetown at 3 a.m. and in Dupont Circle at 3:15 a.m.

“We’re both local guys who go out in Bethesda a lot and who used to like to go to D.C. more often,” Yu said. “Walking to the Metro was just a pain in the butt, with all the delays. Getting back was a pain. No one out on a Saturday night wants to wait for an unpredictable 20 to 30 minutes for a train to arrive.”

Just more than 100 people used the service last Friday night. Yu and Middel partnered with a number of D.C. bars to promote the service and provide drink specials and line-passing perks to the riders.

Saturday night was a little slower, something Yu attributed to the Taste of Bethesda, Taste of DC and Virgin Mobile Free Fest events going on the same day.

The two contracted with a shuttle company in Virginia that can provide as many as 14 shuttles in a night.

The DC Hopper is not, the two said, a party bus, meaning no neon lights or dance music on your way to the bar. They do provide free Red Bull energy drinks and water, as well as TVs to show off partner bars.

“The term I coined is an ‘above-ground Metro,’” Middel said. “In a sense, it’s to be more reliable than Metro service and tailored toward people that are going out.”

Yu said last weekend’s customers, who paid between $16 and $24 for the full trip from Bethesda to D.C., expressed tremendous support of the idea.

In the long run, the two would like to expand the idea to Arlington, U Street, or H Street and perhaps to other cities.

Next week, they’ll meet with Bethesda bars and restaurants to propose a “Hopper Hour” concept that would allow riders to grab dinner in Bethesda before heading out for D.C.

“It’s not necessarily just transportation,” Yu said, “it’s the perks you get with our transportation.”

For more information, visit The DC Hopper website.

by BethesdaNow.com — October 11, 2012 at 10:15 am 1,336 1 Comment

Yoga is hardly a new trend, and there are a wealth of area studios to prove it.

So when Rockville native Arlet Koseian and business partner Antonia Trigler were looking for a location to open their own facility, they wanted to find a place where there was room — and an audience — for another yoga spot.

Koseian is hoping North Bethesda, which stands to gain as many as 14,000 housing units in a variety of upcoming development projects, is that place.

So far, nearly a year since starting the business, she has a customer base of about 300 mostly young urban professionals, many who come to evening classes after commuting into Bethesda or Washington.

“With all these people in this area and all these high-rises and what’s going to be happening to this area, we knew that when we picked our spot,” Koseian said.

(more…)

by BethesdaNow.com — October 11, 2012 at 8:45 am 514 0

Police Sharpshooters Might Kill Off Chevy Chase Deer — A section of Rock Creek Park in Chevy Chase might be added to Montgomery County Parks’ deer management program. The department is accepting public comment until Oct. 26. If added, the deer hunt would take place at night from Jan. 1 to March 31. [Chevy Chase Patch]

Writers On The Row Starts Tonight — The four-day book festival begins tonight with two events: ESPN personality Michael Wilbon’s discussion of “The Best American Sports Writing 2012″ and contributing editor Karen Sommer Shalett’s talk on her “True Blood: Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temps.” [Bethesda Row]

Police Explain Desire For ‘Effects Bargaining’ As Ballot Question Approaches — Marc Zifcak, immediate past president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35, says effects bargaining does not delay or hinder management, as police chief Thomas Manger claims. [WAMU]

Metro Shows Off New Train Cars — The sleek new 7000-series cars are said to be safer in a crash and are expected to go in service in 2014. [AP via Washington Post]

Flickr photo by IamJorno

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