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Veterans Day Closings For Monday

by BethesdaNow.com | November 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm | 448 views | No Comments

A few Montgomery County government operations will be affected by Monday’s celebration of Veterans Day, which actually falls on Sunday.

State offices and courts, county offices and libraries will be closed and recreation and senior programming will not happen. Parking at county lots and meters will be free.

County trash and recycling will operate on its regular schedule.

County liquor stores, indoor aquatic centers and schools will be open and operate regularly.

Metrobus and Metrorail will operate on Saturday schedules and Ride On will use a modified holiday schedule.

BlackFinn Hosting Madden Tournament

by BethesdaNow.com | November 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm | 579 views | No Comments

BlackFinn (4901 Fairmont Ave.) is known as a football-watching destination on NFL Sundays, but tomorrow the game will be slightly different.

The Woodmont Triangle bar and restaurant is hosting a Madden 13 Tournament, where gamers will compete for a $200 cash prize and bragging rights over the popular NFL video game franchise.

In Town Gamers, a gaming events company, is organizing the tournament, which will start at 1 p.m. The entry fee is $20 and is capped at 32 contestants,

Madden NFL tournaments have grown in popularity as the 24-year-old EA Sports franchise has become one of the most popular of all time.

The rules for tomorrow’s tournament are many — single-elimination, random pairings, no updated rosters, four-minute quarters on All Madden skill level are just a few.

For more information, check out the event website.

County Councilwoman Proposing Public Property Smoking Ban

by BethesdaNow.com | November 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm | 3,600 views | 3 Comments

A Montgomery County councilmember wants to ban smoking on most public property, including in county parks, around recreation centers and outside county buildings. Smoking is already banned inside county buildings.

Councilwoman Nancy Floreen (D-At large) of Garrett Park said her own experience with cancer (Floreen is a breast cancer survivor) motivated her to put together the bill, which will be introduced on Nov. 20 and featured in a press conference on Nov. 15, according to a press release.

“I have unfortunately spent a lot of time over the past year with people who have cancer,” Floreen said in the release. “I want to do everything I can to help prevent this awful disease in all of its forms, and this is a good place to start.”

The release goes on to say that one in 12 adults in Montgomery County smoke cigarettes and that smoking accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths. The Nov. 15 press conference will be held in conjunction with the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout and will include American Cancer Society officials.

The bill would not ban smoking in public right of way spaces, the only public property exempt.

Last year, the Council approved a smoking ban at playgrounds and indoor common spaces, such as privately owned apartment hallways or lobbies. That measure met some resistance, but not as much as in 1999, when the county was the first in the state to ban smoking in bars. The law was enacted in 2003.

Floreen’s proposal has the support of a majority of the nine-person Council, with Councilmembers Nancy Navarro (D-East County), Craig Rice (D-Upcounty), Hans Riemer (D-At large) of Silver Spring, March Elrich (D-At large) of Takoma Park and George Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park on board.

A public hearing on the measure is scheduled for Jan. 15.

Flickr photo by chris@APL

Vino Volo Ready For Bethesda Takeoff

by BethesdaNow.com | November 9, 2012 at 11:00 am | 931 views | No Comments

Doug Tomlinson’s first “city” location of his Vino Volo wine lounge will have to wait an extra week before it makes its public debut — Hurricane Sandy delayed the delivery of some inventory traveling through Newark Airport in storm-battered New Jersey.

But the CEO and founder of the upscale wine bar was more than pleased with the first non-airport edition in Vino Volo’s portfolio, which now will open to the public on Friday, Nov. 16 at 7243-7247 Woodmont Ave.

“The people who live in this neighborhood are the same people who travel a lot, so they’ve already fallen in love with us and we have a lot of loyal fans here,” Tomlinson said during an introductory VIP and media reception at the lounge on Thursday night. “We wanted to be in a market where we were already known and where we were getting requests to do this and the Bethesda market is one of those.”

Tomlinson started the company in 2004 after noticing something missing in airport terminal eateries — a dedicated wine bar featuring a top-notch wine selection. After opening the first Vino Volo in 2005 in Dulles Airport, the company took off with 17 more airport locations since.

In the spring, Vino Volo will open another city location in Tysons Corner.

The formula will remain mostly the same. Staff will offer flights of three wines with a menu of upscale small plates dishes, sandwiches and deserts that match those wines.

A typical tasting of three wines ranges from $8 to $16. The lounge and restaurant will also serve as a wine retail store. The menu includes a wide range: California wines, local labels, seasonal (a Thanksgiving flight of Cabernet Franc, Grenache and Riesling was on the menu Thursday), Italian and a number of other categories.

Tomlinson was confident the San Francisco-based company could make the transition from captive audience behind airport security gates to Bethesda Row restaurant-goers.

“We never really took for granted people in an airport. We said let’s make it really meaningful with an educated staff and quality selection,” Tomlinson said. “You can force somebody to buy a bad glass of wine, but you can’t force them to sit down and buy a flight of three.

“At the end of the day, when I first founded this company my goal was not to be the best wine lounge in an airport,” Tomlinson said, “but to be the best wine tasting destination period.”

New Bethesda Police Station Up in the Air as Developer Backs Out

by BethesdaNow.com | November 9, 2012 at 9:45 am | 1,292 views | No Comments

The developer in a public-private land swap deal to build a new Bethesda police station has backed out, leaving plans up in the air for a replacement to the more than 50-year-old existing station.

Developer JBG Cos. sent Montgomery County a letter advising it will not take part in a County Council-approved deal that would have put a new police station on Cordell Avenue, between Wisconsin and Woodmont Avenues, according to Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Director Ken Hartman.

As we reported in October, JBG Cos. did not purchase all the property at the site because of financial concerns. JBG’s Frank Craighill said severe changes in the market did not make it financially feasible for the company to purchase the land.

That left the company looking for alternative locations. Now, they will pull out of the project altogether. They will still build on the already purchased southern end of the property, between Woodmont and Wisconsin Avenues, but apparently could not acquire a separate property on Cordell Avenue.

They are scheduled to go before the Planning Board with the smaller, reconfigured project early next year.

Hartman said it’s the county’s goal to use the $9 million in public funding set aside for the project to find a new site or potentially rebuild on the police station’s current site, at 7359 Wisconsin Ave.

“We’re looking if there’s another location or if we can rebuild it in its current location,” Hartman told a meeting of the Woodmont Triangle Action Group this morning. “We don’t want another three years stuck without a new facility.”

The deal would have given JBG the land of the existing station in exchange they take on most of the costs of building the station on the Cordell Avenue site.

The county was due to contribute a little more than $9 million to the estimated $21 million project. The station would have been 30,000 feet on three floors with approximately 44 underground parking spaces, according to the capital budget.

The existing station is 21,700 square feet and, according to the budget, too small to meet the requirements of the 24-hour police station. The building also requires major upgrades and faces security concerns.

Morning Notes

by BethesdaNow.com | November 9, 2012 at 8:45 am | 317 views | No Comments

Metro Single Tracking This Weekend — Workers are doing repair work on the Red Line between the Friendship Heights and Grosvenor-Strathmore stations, meaning at least 20-minute waits. [WMATA]

Bethesda Art Walk Tonight — The Bethesda Urban Partnership’s monthly Art Walk is tonight. Participating galleries open their doors at 6 p.m. The tour, either self-guided or with a guide, closes out at 9 p.m. Check out Gallery B for the Trawick Prize 10th anniversary exhibit. [BUP]

Tree Falls On Reporter’s House, Reporter Talks About It — WUSA9 correspondent and Bethesda resident Bruce Leshan got some bad luck during Superstorm Sandy last week when a tree fell on his house, causing significant damage. [WUSA9]

County May Ditch Community Center Model, Go Bigger in White Flint — In the Montgomery County Department of Parks’ presentation to a Council committee yesterday, officials said they might one day ditch the idea of traditional-sized community centers for mega centers that combine recreational activities with indoor pools. One of those centers would be destined for White Flint because of its expected growth over the next two decades. [Washington Examiner]

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