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Family, Cops Disagree On Handling Of Pedestrian Collision

by BethesdaNow.com | December 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm | 1,388 views | 4 Comments

A family says they are filing a complaint against a Montgomery County Police officer after he botched an investigation into a pedestrian collision involving their son.

MCPD officials say the officer didn’t pursue an investigation because the father would not let him speak with the nine-year-old boy.

The incident occurred at the intersection of River Road and Willard Avenue the morning of Dec. 11. As Marina Bowsher’s son, husband, daughter and the family dog walked across River Road with the crossing signal, a driver attempting to turn left onto southbound River Road hit the son in the leg.

The son was shaken up, according to police spokesman Capt. Paul Starks, but Bowhser said he was not seriously injured.

Still, when the family contacted police later for insurance information for the driver, the police said they were not going to file a report.

“The officer was adamant he was not going to reopen the investigation,” said Bowsher, who also said the family got the same response from a lieutenant. “You don’t just hit a kid in the intersection and not have anything done about it.”

The family put their story on a community listserv and posted signs near the intersection looking for witnesses who could identify the driver. Bethesda MCPD commander Capt. David Falcinelli saw the email and after talking with the family, had his traffic sargeant do an investigation.

Starks said the family got a copy of the collision report yesterday and the driver will be given a citation for failure to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk.

“It was not going to be a complex investigation,” Starks said. “We’re not blaming the father and the son for being distraught at the time of the incident. But the father left the scene with the boy.”

Starks added the driver did remain at the scene.

Bowsher said a number of witnesses saw her husband holding a sign asking for help last Friday morning at the intersection. She said almost 20 people had to flag down the driver, who didn’t immediately stop after hitting the boy.

Witnesses say the driver claimed she saw the boy and attempted to brake but hit the gas pedal instead.

“If any one has a comment, compliment or a complaint about a Montgomery County police officer, we want to hear about it,” Starks said. “That’s their right.”

Weekly Crime Report: Dec. 3 to Dec. 12

by BethesdaNow.com | December 20, 2012 at 2:35 pm | 339 views | No Comments

A string of iPod and GPS thefts from cars hit Bethesda to open up December, most from locked cars and one in which the object was out of sight in a trunk. From the Chevy Chase/Friendship Heights area:

Three thefts from vehicles were reported this week in this Bethesda beat.  Entry methods varied.  A vehicle parked in the 6400 block of Goldsboro Road had forced entry and tools were taken; a vehicle parked in the 4600 block of Western Avenue also had forced entry and an iPod and GPS were taken; and an iPod was taken out of a trunk of a vehicle in the 4400 block of Willard Avenue.

Follow the jump for more on thefts from vehicles in other areas, including at Montgomery Mall, and the rest of the weekly Bethesda crime summary.

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Aroma Espresso Facing Alcohol License Delay

by BethesdaNow.com | December 20, 2012 at 12:15 pm | 804 views | 1 Comment

The opening of the much anticipated Aroma Espresso Bar at Montgomery Mall could be delayed a few weeks after owners failed to get a beer and wine license at a county liquor board hearing today.

Board of License Commissioners said they did not think Aroma’s proposed system for serving alcoholic beverages would be enough to stop underage customers from drinking in the restaurant.

They asked owner Eddie Benaim, the owner of Potomac’s Bezu restaurant and owner of Aroma’s franchise rights in the D.C. area, to submit a new plan for the next board meeting on Jan. 3.

At issue is how staff would deliver beer or wine to customers. All customers would order at a cash register. If they order alcohol, which Benaim said he expects to be 10 to 15 percent of his business, the cashier would card them and bring their order to their table when it’s ready.

If a customer orders coffee, food, or a pastry but no alcohol, that customer would be able to pick up their order up front when it is ready.

That didn’t satisfy Board member Fred Silverman, despite its implementation at popular fast casual restaurants such as Chipotle.

Benaim and Yuval Bezerano, a franchise development official with Aroma, agreed to formulate a new plan and ask for a continuance instead of risking their alcohol application be denied.

The Israeli import has locations in New York, New Jersey and Florida and is looking to add to its 140 locations in Israel with 10 in the D.C. area, according to Bethesda Magazine. It is similar to favorite fast casual franchise Panera, with a menu of salads, sandwiches, pastries, but with more of a focus on coffee and teas.

It was set to open in mid-November and will have 60 seats inside the mall near the Old Navy and about 20 more on an under construction outdoor patio.

Photo via Aroma Espresso Cafe

Local Holiday Closings

by BethesdaNow.com | December 20, 2012 at 11:15 am | 313 views | No Comments

Much of the Montgomery County government will be closed on Dec. 25 for Christmas and on Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day.

County offices, libraries, recreation centers, MCPS offices and state offices and courts will all be closed on both days. Trash and recycling collection will not happen on those days, but be provided one day later than residents’ usual day.

Ride On, Metrobus and Metrorail will all use Sunday schedules. Rode On will close early on Christmas Eve with last trips departing terminals at around 10 p.m.

Parking will be free at the county’s garages, lots and curbside meters.

County liquor stores will be closed on both Christmas and New Year’s Day but will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

All recreation centers will be closed Dec. 24 through Jan. 1 and senior centers will be closed Dec. 23 through Jan. 1.

O’Malley Talks Assault Weapons Ban

by BethesdaNow.com | December 20, 2012 at 10:00 am | 489 views | No Comments

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) yesterday took to the national airwaves to talk gun control and an assault weapons ban.

On MSNBC’s “Hardball,” O’Malley said, “There is no reason we should have military assault weapons any place but on the battlefield and most of the hunters that I know agree.”

He also said assault weapons, such as the one used in last week’s Sandy Hook school shooting, “have no place in a civil society.”

The remarks came on the same day President Barack Obama (D) called for Congress to reinstate an assault weapons ban and introduced a working group to submit proposals for curbing gun violence.

In Baltimore, State Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Bethesda-Chevy Chase) and others introduced a package of gun control legislation including an assault weapons ban, handgun ban in public places, reduction of clip sizes and other law enforcement tools that they will bring to the General Assembly in January.

Many of those proposals have been introduced in the General Assembly before. On at least the assault weapons ban, Frosh appears to have the governor’s strong support.

Morning Notes

by BethesdaNow.com | December 20, 2012 at 9:00 am | 277 views | No Comments

County Could Look at Reinstating School Resource Officers — After the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut, local officials are discussing best safety practices for Montgomery County Public Schools and reinstating police officers assigned to county high schools. There are now six school resource officers who rotate between schools, down from the one assigned to each school before budget cuts. [The Gazette]

China National Symphony Returning to Strathmore — The orchestra and “cultural ambassador” is returning in February to North Bethesda for the first time since 2006. More information and tickets are available on Strathmore’s website. [Strathmore]

Planning Board to Review West Lane Development Proposal — The Montgomery County Planning Board today will review a controversial proposal for a seven-story, 120-unit apartment building on West Lane, a neighborhood of townhomes between Arlington Road and Woodmont Avenue. The hearing is set for after 2 p.m. [Montgomery County Planning Department]

Flickr photo by ehpien

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