by BethesdaNow.com — February 13, 2013 at 3:50 pm 0

Round House Theatre officials are hoping to serve wine and beer to go along with performances and other events at the downtown Bethesda venue, according to the hearing schedule of the Montgomery County Board of License Commissioners.

The theater’s application for the county’s Special Theater License is scheduled to go before the Board on Feb. 21.

Round House (4545 East-West Highway) hopes to take advantage of the $100-per-year license that allows a performing arts theater or a movie theater operated by a nonprofit organization to sell beer and light wine when snacks are served, one hour before and after a performance and at receptions before and after a performance.

In November, the Bethesda Row Cinema was granted an alcohol license to serve beer, wine and liquor at a new bar soon to be built in the Woodmont Avenue theater.

A request for comment from Round House Theatre, which receives major funding support from Montgomery County, was not returned.

Image via Round House Theatre

by BethesdaNow.com — February 13, 2013 at 3:20 pm 0


Transit advocates are sustaining their push for a gas tax hike in Annapolis amid some discouraging recent news about two projects that could have big impacts in Bethesda.

Last week came word that the Maryland Department of Transportation might halt design funding for the Purple Line if no funding solution is achieved in this legislative session. Monday, the Washington Post reported a Montgomery County-commissioned study from the New-York based Institution for Transportation and Development Policy found only a Rockville Pike route would have enough riders to justify building a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

Barnaby Zall, chair of the nonprofit Friends of White Flint, wrote yesterday that the county should not be discouraged from building BRT on Rockville Pike. He also argued it’s hard to judge the demand for a BRT system, which would mean dedicated bus-only lanes that would allow buses to move past other traffic, until the option is offered.

“The fact that there’s not enough demand for BRT everywhere isn’t a good reason not to start somewhere,” Zall wrote.

Action Committee for Transit President Tina Slater, a member of the county’s Transit Task Force, said she thought the recommendations made by the Task Force on BRT were worthwhile.


by BethesdaNow.com — February 13, 2013 at 2:30 pm 0

(UPDATED at 3:22 p.m.) An empty school bus believed to be on its way to Whitman High School this afternoon was involved in a three-car collision that left one person in serious but stable condition, according to a MCFRS spokeswoman.

MCFRS spokeswoman Beth Anne Nesselt said emergency personnel were called to the accident at the intersection of River Road and Whittier Boulevard shortly after 2 p.m. There, they extricated a person pinned in her vehicle. She was transported to a local hospital in serious but stable condition.

The bus driver was evaluated on the scene and did not require additional medical attention, Nesselt said. A third driver involved in the accident was transported to a local hospital for a check-up and evaluation.

As of 2:50 p.m., Whittier Boulevard was still closed at River Road, where police were managing traffic, Nesselt said. MCPS also sent supervisors to the area to assist with bus operations as Whitman and nearby middle schools were getting out for the day.

Photo via TrafficLand.com

by BethesdaNow.com — February 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm 0

The founder of a Bethesda nonprofit that recently began preparing and donating leftover Farmers Market goods to the homeless will present at a TED event on eating on Saturday in New York.

Farm to Freezer organizer Cheryl Kollin will talk about her group’s goals and how it is “Changing the Way We Eat” starting at 4:40 p.m. on a special webcast that can be viewed here. TED conferences are a set of live talks, described as a “clearinghouse for ideas” that by late 2012 had been viewed one billion times online.

Kollin started Farm to Freezer in 2012 with a network of volunteers who collected 300 to 400 pounds of donated produce from the Bethesda FRESHFARM farmers market each week. They then used various Bethesda church commercial kitchens to either preserve the food or make it into useable products such as tomato sauce.

The food and the products were given to homelessness prevention nonprofit Bethesda Cares, which will have enough food to feed its homeless clients through winter, said Kollin, who hopes to expand the program this year.

Bethesda Green will be hosting a free local viewing party starting at 10 a.m. (registration here) that will include presentations and discussions on local food programs and county zoning revisions might affect the farms that produce local food.

Photo via TEDxManhattan

by BethesdaNow.com — February 13, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

A survey from the Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) asks downtown residents, employees and visitors for their opinions on shopping, dining, traffic and for one thing they would improve about the area.

It also asks something that if proposed, might stir up some passionate opposition: Would you be willing to pay for public parking garage use on weekends?

The idea is not a new one. Bethesda’s public garages are free on the weekends and the garage serving Bethesda Row is especially busy now because of construction on the site of Lot 31.

It would add more revenue to the county’s coffers and could theoretically give the BUP more funding to market and maintain the Central Business District. The majority of the BUP’s funding comes from parking revenues and a special Urban District Tax on downtown Bethesda businesses.

The survey also asks about the availability of parking options and pricing of public parking fees, which range from 85 cents to $1.25 per hour.

It asks about interest in the BUP’s Bethesda Circulator, a free shuttle service that connects riders in Woodmont Triangle and Bethesda Row to the Bethesda Metro station and other. There are questions about dining options, shopping options and a question that asks if entertainment options are “geared towards limited age groups.”

Finally, the survey asks: If you had the opportunity to make one improvement to downtown Bethesda, what would it be?

by BethesdaNow.com — February 13, 2013 at 10:35 am 0

The renovated office building at 7550 Wisconsin Ave. is set for its ribbon-cutting on Feb. 26, which will mark the introduction of the first new Class A office building to Bethesda since 2001.

Rockwood Capital and D.C.-based developer Akridge bought the 10-story building through a General Services Administration auction for $12.5 million in 2010. It had been vacant for eight years.

Akridge then renovated and reskinned the building to meet LEED standards.

Akridge spokeswoman Corinne Schieffer said none of the office’s 120,000 square feet is currently leased, but the developer is confident in the interest the building has received in the market so far.

In November, county officials celebrated the groundbreaking of a 220,000-square-foot Class A office building at 4500 East-West Highway. Bethesda has seen much residential development in the past few years, but County Executive Isiah Leggett and Economic Development director Steve Silverman said reclaiming demand for office buildings was vital to the county’s economic recovery.

The 7550 Wisconsin Ave. building is less than a block from the Bethesda Metro station. McClean, Va.-based developer Kettler is planning a 15-story, 120-unit apartment building just west of the office, on the site of the existing United Bank at 7535 Old Georgetown Rd.

by BethesdaNow.com — February 13, 2013 at 9:35 am 0

The Montgomery County Council on Tuesday agreed to devote more funding to promotion for tourists and business conferences, what some said was a necessary measure with a planned casino in Prince George’s County.

The bill, sponsored by Councilwoman Nancy Floreen (D-At large) of Garrett Park, raises the amount of hotel/motel tax collected by the county and directed to its Conference and Visitors Bureau from 3.5 to 7 percent.

Floreen said she was motivated by regional competition. During a public hearing on the bill, the Council learned that Montgomery County spends less on promotion than any other local jurisdiction except Arlington County.

The bill is projected to provide an additional $630,000 for the County Visitors Bureau, the nonprofit of five full-time staff members who promote facilities such as The Music Center at Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Lane) and the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center (5701 Marinelli Rd.).

On her blog, Floreen wrote, “In looking ahead, we must be ready to more aggressively compete for tourism and conventions with Prince George’s County and other Maryland jurisdictions that have, or will have, casinos.”

MGM Resorts is planning a Las Vegas-style casino that officials there hope will attract tourists and conventions to National Harbor.

The bill passed with an 8-1 vote. Councilman Hans Riemer (D-At large) of Silver Spring, was the lone member against the measure.

Flickr photo by Bill in DC


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