Bethesda voters tomorrow will encounter the longest ballot in Montgomery County in 20 years, full of high profile ballot questions that, at least locally, will dominate much of the talk surrounding the election.
As you prepare to head to the polls, check out our quick primer:
Maryland’s 8th Congressional District: Few expect Republican challenger Ken Timmerman to put up much of a fight against five-term incumbent and leading Democratic lawmaker Chris Van Hollen, even in a radically altered district that reaches all the way up to parts of more conservative and rural Frederick and Carroll Counties.
Despite Timmerman’s claims of a competitive race, he’s received little attention in heavily Democratic downcounty Montgomery and Bethesda. Pollsters didn’t even conduct a poll. Van Hollen has spent much of the months leading up to the election helping others, both on the national stage and in other competitive House races.
Timmerman, a Kensington neighbor of Van Hollen’s, has run on a platform of less government and conservative views on many social issues. He has tried to position himself as the choice for Jewish voters by attacking Van Hollen’s record on Israel, calling Van Hollen “a fair weather friend of Israel.” Last week, a Tea Party group came to Kensington to support Timmerman, an investigative journalist and author.
In a contentious September debate, Van Hollen accused Timmerman of distorting his record and the facts, especially on the budget. Van Hollen is the ranking member on the House Budget Committee. At a later candidates forum, Van Hollen said he has “never seen such gutter politics in our community.”
A Baltimore artist was named the “best of the best” by the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District for her 2007 Trawick Prize winning work in a contest of the 10 award winners to celebrate the event’s 10th anniversary.
Jo Smail received a $10,000 prize for her work. Washington D.C. resident Mia Feuer won $1,000 and the People’s Choice Award for her 2011 Trawick Award winning sculpture work.
The People’s Choice Award was voted on through Bethesda Magazine.
The Trawick Prize, created by philanthropist Carol Trawick in 2003, has awarded more than $200,000 in prize money and served as the centerpiece event for the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District, a division of the Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP).
The BUP hosts the annual event and displays the finalists in its Gallery B art studio (7700 Wisconsin Ave. Suite E). The work of the 10 winners will be on display through Dec. 1 and a public opening reception will be held this Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. as part of the Bethesda Art Walk.
The gallery will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m.
The first Montgomery County location of a national math tutoring company opened on Fairmont Avenue last week.
Bethesda resident Barry Fausnaugh is running Mathnasium, The Math Learning Center’s newest location, which he opened at 4918 Fairmont Ave. a week ago.
The math-only tutoring center focuses on students from second-grade to high school and typically includes a separate lesson plan from school work, though Fausnaugh said tutors will dedicate some time to homework help.
“It’s kind of been my general experience that kids struggle a little bit with math once they start getting into a little bit higher levels,” Fausnaugh said. “Math is one of those things where all your knowledge builds upon itself, so you want to fill in those knowledge gaps.”
Fausnaugh became interested in the company earlier this year and traveled to Mathansium’s headquarters in Los Angeles for a tour. The company has more than 300 franchise locations throughout the country.
Bethesda, he said, works well as a location for a math-only tutoring company because of the amount of families in the area. Students pay a monthly fee and the recommendation is they come 10 times a month, twice a week and then two additional times to iron out any skills they may still struggle with.
The student-to-tutor ratio rarely exceeds 3-to-1, Fausnaugh said.
“There’s a lot of variety of people here, families and kids,” Fausnaugh said. “The approach here is to really meet kids where they’are at but also to build up their confidence.”
County Council President Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac) has been one of Pepco’s harshest critics, but even he had praise for its performance in preparing for and dealing with Hurricane Sandy last week.
Some constituents have even emailed Berliner, unhappy he has complimented the much maligned utility company for helping to minimize power outages in the county and returning virtually all electricity to those without it within two days of the worst of the storm.
“This is what we pay them to do and they did it well,” Berliner said Monday. “It wouldn’t be honest to not give them credit for doing good work to prepare.”
Pepco secured more than 1,500 line personnel from other states to help what was expected to be a long recovery process. The company had predicted perhaps at least 100,000 outages in its Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Washington, D.C. coverage area.
Those numbers didn’t materialize. Instead, about 7,000 customers in the Bethesda, Chevy Chase and North Bethesda area were without power during the peak of the storm late Monday night, a relatively low number compared to outages from June’s derecho storm.
Berliner did say the days of preparation before Sandy hit the East Coast helped as well as the fact that the D.C. metropolitan region didn’t get the worst of the storm.
Pepco Region Vice President Jerry Pasternak was at the Council Office Building in Rockville to sit in as Berliner spoke about Pepco to the media.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that we had more boots on the ground in this storm. We had the benefit of tracking this storm for five days,” Berliner said. “Pepco I think did what it should do, which is to make sure we had people when we needed them. It was a combination of preparing well and being lucky and that was a good combination for Montgomery County residents.”
Berliner said the storm underscored the importance of creating a microgrid electricity system in certain parts of the county, part of the “Utility 2.0″ pilot he is helping to try to create.
Students from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School and the Jane E. Lawton Community Center will also take part. The baskets will go to families of Montgomery County students in the county’s Linkages to Learning program.
Through Nov. 15, those interested in donating can drop off a check payable to the B-CC PTSA or gift food cards from Giant and Safeway at the Town office or to Georgia Guhin at 4006 Rosemary St.
The entire Thanksgiving dinner runs $75, the turkey $25 and other groceries $50. Contact Town Community Relations Co-Chair Bridget Hartman at 301-654-4938 with any questions.
The dinner basket drive will also be incorporated into the Town’s annual Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, set for noon on Sunday, Nov. 18 at Tarrytown Park (7500 block of Lynn Drive). After the mile walk on the Capital Crescent Trail to Elm Street Park, participants can head to Town Hall to help assemble and decorate the Thanksgiving baskets.
Those interested can RSVP through the Town office.
Just as wine lounge Vino Volo gets set to introduce its small plates menu on Bethesda Row, the DoubleTree Bethesda hotel is upping its game with a similar concept.
Craig Luparello, DoubleTree’s food and beverage director, says to look for the new Share Wine Lounge and Small Plate Bistro to open tomorrow in the first-floor restaurant of the hotel at 8120 Wisconsin Ave.
The concept change incorporates three dining categories: home comforts, change of pace and pushing the envelope and pairs wines with a new small plates menu.
It’s similar to Vino Volo, the popular airport wine lounge that is getting set to debut its first standalone location on Woodmont Avenue. Vino Volo is hosting a sneak preview tasting and reception on Thursday.
Luparello said he hasn’t heard much about Vino Volo, but he has talked to the crew behind the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, which is targeting a January 2013 opening in the historic Bethesda Theatre (7719 Wisconsin Ave.).
“It just brings more action to our area,” Luparello said.
Share Wine Lounge will be doing daily specials on its Facebook page. More from DoubleTree’s prepared release:
Share is communal, where the breaking of bread is strongly encouraged.
Our often changing small plates menu and well chosen wine list creates sensible pairings and allows our talented chefs to craft daily blackboard specials. Diners seeking a change of pace from the ordinary menu and self identify as foodies are usually drawn to chef driven specials.
A hand scraped wood communal table is the center piece of the chef’s tasting room, aka anti-Bored room. The anti-Bored room is perfect for rehearsal dinners, birthday celebrations or after work office parties. Within this format, the chef will push the envelope and then some. So all with an open mind and empty stomach are invited to explore current food trends and techniques.
Photo via DoubleTree Bethesda
Police Still Searching For North Bethesda Carjacking Suspect — Montgomery County Police are still searching for a man they say used a handgun to carjack a woman in North Bethesda on Wednesday afternoon before ditching the car in downtown Silver Spring, where he eluded authorities. The carjacking victim was uninjured. [The Gazette]
Town of Chevy Chase Talks Development — Tonight, the Town of Chevy Chase will hold town hall meeting on the lastest in downtown Bethesda development and the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan. Ken Hartman, director of the Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, will run through ongoing and upcoming development projects and Mayor Pat Burda will give the latest on Chevy Chase Lake. The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall (4301 Willow Lane). [Town of Chevy Chase]
Bethesda Chef Shoves Camera, Apologizes — A WUSA9 reporter who shows up unannounced at local restaurants cited for health violations came to Mia’s Pizzas on Cordell Avenue last week. Chef Mia Ballinger wasn’t pleased. She shoved a camera man before agreeing to allow the crew to come in and film her restaurant, which was cleared of its violation and reopened. [WUSA9]
Montgomery Sees Significant Turnout For Early Voting — Almost 78,000 participated in early voting last week despite a disruption from Hurricane Sandy. The number is about three times the number of early voters in the 2010 mid-term elections, the first time it was an option. [The Gazette]