The annual “Santa’s Escort Ride,” to benefit the Children’s Inn at NIH arrived in town around 3 p.m. today as MCPD motor officers escorted Mr. Claus into Woodmont Triangle to take pictures and chat in Veterans Park.
The Children’s Inn at NIH provides residences and services for sick kids undergoing treatment at NIH and their families, many who come from across the country to the Bethesda campus. The MCPD officers on the ride will give the kids gift bags and donations the department raised in a party later today at the Inn.
The ride began at the 5th District Germantown Station at 10 a.m. and hit the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce, Gaithersburg’s Sheehy Ford and Vince and Dominics Pizzeria in Bethesda (10474 Auto Park Ave.) for the annual luncheon.
Police Chief Thomas Manger greeted the officers and Santa at Veterans Park. They’ll head to Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School before departing for NIH, where the party will start around 5:30 p.m.
Owners Kaare Wieneke and Tyson Plumbtree, who operated for four months last summer in the soon-to-be-redeveloped building at Norfolk and Fairmont Avenues, have found a spot across the street (4825 Fairmont Ave.).
Wieneke hopes to have the new space open by March 1. A sign was put up in the windows yesterday. Wieneke says the store will also offer safety equipment and give a safety course to scooter buyers. He recently suffered a broken foot and ankle and seriously injured his shoulder after an accident on his electric skateboard.
“It changed my whole life,” Wieneke said.
A month after his last surgery, he found the spot just next to BGR The Burger Joint and took it as a sign.
The scooters will start at $1,500 and go up to $3,000. Wieneke lives a block away and said he rarely uses his cars anymore. He’s hoping it’s a trend that others latch onto in parking-strapped downtown Bethesda.
Business during the four-months at the pop-up store was good enough to quickly pay off loans, which Wieneke said was a factor in deciding to open up again. Insurance is required for motor scooters as is $100 annually for a registration tag.
“Scooters park on the sidewalk for free,” Wieneke said. “Sometimes you just want to go to Safeway or go to a restaurant and it’s summer time and you can park right out in front of your restaurant. Scooters I think are up and coming. They’re everywhere else in the world and I think their time has come here.”
More than 70 homeless people are in Bethesda, according to the organization. Bethesda Cares provides eviction prevention, a meal program, counseling services and help getting into group homes and homeless programs for the chronically homeless and working poor.
The clothing closet allows the homeless to pick out items they need.
Those interested in donating can contact Bethesda Cares. Donations will be accepted at the organization’s offices (7728 Woodmont Ave.) Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Donations can also be dropped off at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane) but staff there asks that you call 240-777-8210 first to arrange a time.
Flickr photo by OFA-MD
Each winter, the Division of Solid Waste Services collect Christmas trees (lights, ornaments, tinsel and all decorations must be removed) that are put on street curbs before 7 a.m. on regular recycling collection days.
Those trees are shredded into mulch that is available in January and February as part of the county’s Neighborhood Mulch Preserves program.
The Department of Environmental Protection also suggests residents recycle Christmas tree branches and needles at home by placing them under outdoor trees and shrubs as temporary winter mulch:
Mulch is good to use on woody plants, such as bushes, shrubs and trees; as a cover material on walkways or other areas where vegetation needs to be controlled; and as a carbon-rich addition to home compost piles or compost bins. Because the mulch is “green,” it must be aged for at least six to eight months before it can be used on flowers, vegetables or other plants with tender or shallow root systems.
Apartment and condominium residents are encouraged to check with their landlords or property managers for specific Christmas tree recycling instructions.
After months of meetings, MCPS officials and designers at Rockville-based SEI Architects finalized their feasibility study of an addition that would increase the overcrowded school’s capacity to 2,200 from its current 1,665.
There are 1,840 students at the school now and an expected surge on the way from a growing elementary school population. MCPS hopes one of the three addition options would be completed in time for the start of the 2017-2018 school year, long-range planning director Bruce Crispell said. No cost estimates have yet been generated for the project. Though architects were able to predict option C would be more expensive than options A and B, they did not say by about how much.
After MCPS Superintendent Josh Starr makes his recommendation for which option to choose and the Board of Education selects one, parents at B-CC will get to go through another extensive meeting process, this time with dollar figures attached.
Regardless of which option is selected, construction of the addition will disrupt activities at B-CC for 18 to 24 months. All options mean the fall and spring athletic programs would have to operate elsewhere for the duration of construction.
Option C would mean the loss of the winter athletic season as well because construction crews would use the main parking lot for staging and building. There would not be enough parking to accomodate spectators at events in B-CC’s gym and access there would be blocked off.
There are apparent advantages and disadvantages to each option, all of which include new classrooms, athletic space, science labs, teacher offices and other amenities.
Option C, a four-level structure built next to the school’s main west side entrance, would allow for more connections with the existing building, better circulation, be more compact to the existing school footprint and could bring about some enticing design features. For instance, the steps at the existing entrance would be drawn out and put inside the new building to allow for sitting space in a common area. The existing bus loop would go under the new building, which would be raised above the road.
But option C would also be the most costly, according to architects. It would also push all bus drop-off and pick-up traffic to the east side of the building during construction.
Option A and B involve segments of the addition built behind the existing structure, which would encroach on what is currently seating for the football field. The building would be raised and open underneath. Based on parents’ suggestions, architects took out a central column some thought would hurt sightlines of the school’s main athletic field.
Instead of a two-story addition, option B involves three stories behind the building. That would allow for less of the addition to extend west from the school into the existing parking lot and tennis courts. In all three options, the tennis courts would be raised to allow for one level of surface parking below.
MoCo To Study Later High School Start Times — Montgomery County Public Schools leaders promised to study the possibility of moving high school start times from 7:25 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. or later after 10,000 people signed a petition to move school starts later. [Washington Post]
Cost of Purple Line Goes Up Again — The projected cost of the Purple Line, the 16-mile light rail that would connect Bethesda with Silver Spring and College Park, is now $2.15 billion. It’s the second increase in the last two years. It is unfunded. [Washington Examiner]
Chevy Chase Drive Parking Meeting Set For Next Week — Montgomery County Department of Transportation officials will be at the Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center on Thursday, Dec. 20 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to discuss parking plans for Chevy Chase Drive and Offut Lane.
New Yoga Studio Opens — CorePower Yoga, a Denver-based studio that plans to open in Georgetown next year, opened its first area location at 6800 Wisconsin Ave. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr photo by ehpien