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by Aaron Kraut — February 27, 2013 at 2:35 pm 0

The arrival of the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club is a boon for Bethesda’s arts and entertainment scene. It also should help make the historic Bethesda Theatre a viable part of the community again, just in time for its 75th anniversary.

History was a big theme during yesterday’s press tour of the revamped theater and club, particularly for Montgomery County native and club owner Rick Brown. Brown’s mother graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School on the theater’s stage in 1947. He remembered going to movies there when it was still a movie theater in the 1950′s.

Brown spoke about the history of the surrounding area to Montgomery Community Media and talked about how the Bethesda Theatre fits in.

Built in 1938, the Streamline Moderne movie theater is on the National Register of Historic Places and thanks to Brown and the Club, it’s in open and running again.

Video via MYMCMedia

by Aaron Kraut — February 27, 2013 at 1:15 pm 0

The controversial plan for a seven-story, roughly 120-unit apartment building at 4831 West Lane will go back to the Planning Board next week with a few revisions to a design that initially met with much resistance from neighbors.

Revisions from D.C.-based developer SJG Properties and Planning Staff recommendations now have the building pushed 15 feet back from the property line on the west side (facing Arlington Road and the Bethesda Library) and north side. There are also design changes that include a curved facade at the corner of West and Montgomery Lanes, where SJG is planning to put the building’s lobby.

The Planning Board approved SJG’s plans in December. That disappointed nearby residents who said the square apartment building did not fit in the neighborhood of townhomes and that service workers, delivery men and other traffic created by the apartment would be too much for the small surrounding roads to handle.

But members of the Board and Planning Staff saw a property within easy walking distance of the Bethesda Metro station, already with mid-rise condominiums nearby that fit Bethesda’s Master Plan.

It went before a county Hearing Examiner in January and will go before the Board again on Thursday, March 7, this time with the proposed changes.

The changes include sixth and seventh floors that will be setback 12 feet from the building edge, rather than the nine feet proposed before the Board in December.

Neighbors who attended the Hearing Examiner hearing in January were given copies of SJG’s revised plan and the developer met with residents of the City Homes Townhomes and the Edgemoor Condominiums. Planning Staff met with City Homes residents later, on Jan. 25.

Images via Montgomery County Planning Department

by Aaron Kraut — February 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm 0

Montgomery County will receive almost $20 million that will fund 15 projects officials hope will filter polluted runoff headed to the Rock Creek and Anacostia River Watersheds.

The announcement was made last week by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The state’s Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund awarded a $19.8 million grant to the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection for the construction of urban stormwater projects including stream restoration, rain gardens, revamped stormwater ponds and dry and wet grass channels.

The Rock Creek Watershed inside the Beltway includes highly developed areas of Bethesda and Chevy Chase, where much of that development occurred before the 1960s and before existing stormwater controls were in place.

According to the Montgomery County DEP, that has “led to unmitigated flows that have damaged Rock Creek and its tributaries.” In 2002, a toxic chemical released into the creek near East-West Highway killed thousands of fish and reached into D.C.

Construction of a stormwater pond at the south end of NIH’s campus is in its final stages. The pond, part of the Lower Rock Creek Watershed, is meant to capture and treat runoff from NIH and 200 acres of Bethesda’s dense Central Business District.

The projects supported by the grant, some of which are underway, will support the retention and creation of an estimated 140 jobs, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

by Aaron Kraut — February 27, 2013 at 10:38 am 0

 

(UPDATED: 11:08 a.m.) A Metro worker was struck and his truck damaged in an accident this morning near the intersection of Rockville Pike and Grosvenor Lane.

The worker, who sustained leg injuries according to police scanner traffic, was transported to Suburban Hospital. The car hit the worker at about 40 miles per hour, according to scanner traffic. The worker never lost consciousness after he was hit around 10:30 a.m. while working near a Metro cherry picker truck. Metro supervisors were on their way to the scene.

Two lanes of northbound Rockville Pike at Grosvenor Lane were temporarily blocked off, now all three lanes are getting by. The driver of the car involved remained on the scene.

 

by Aaron Kraut — February 27, 2013 at 10:30 am 0

Police are looking for three suspects who they say robbed a victim with a handgun in North Bethesda on a recent Friday night:

An armed robbery occurred at the intersection of Nebel Street & Old Georgetown Road in North Bethesda on Friday, 2/15 at approximately 10:30 p.m.  The suspects threatened the victim with a weapon and obtained property

Suspect: B/M, 20-25, 5’7”-5’9”/170-200 lbs., handgun; B/M, 20-25, 5’6”-5’8”/150-160 lbs., B/M, 20-25, 6’/170 lbs.

On the same day, not far from the above incident, police reported an unsuccessful robbery attempt:

An attempted robbery occurred at the intersection of Tuckerman Lane & Ralston Road in North Bethesda on Friday, 2/15.  The suspect unsuccessfully attempted to forcefully remove property from the victim.

Suspect: B/M, 6’, beard

The rest of the most recent Bethesda area crime summary after the jump.

(more…)

by Aaron Kraut — February 27, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

Downed Tree Causes Backup On Connecticut Avenue — A downed tree on southbound Connecticut Avenue near the intersection with East-West Highway in Chevy Chase is causing a significant traffic backup this morning. At 8 a.m., only the far left lane was getting by. [Photo from TrafficLand.com]

MCPS Superintendent Holding “Student Town Hall” at Walter Johnson — Superintendent Joshua Starr will head to Walter Johnson High School this morning for a conversation with students that will run from 10:55 a.m. to 11:35 a.m. [MyMCMedia]

Yoga Summer Camp Sign-ups — extendYoga (12106 Wilkins Ave., North Bethesda) will hold a yoga summer camp for children age 5-8 this summer. Sign ups are now. The week-long camp includes instructional yoga classes, crafts and teambuilding exercises. [extendYoga]

Bethesda Church, Synagogue Hold Forum On Gun Violence — The Saint Mark Presbyterian church and the Beth El synagogue held a forum on gun violence last week that included police, school and mental health officials. [The Gazette]

Report Says MoCo Business Incentives Provided $1.2 Billion Return — A county report says business incentives provided to private companies by the government since 1996 has meant a $1.24 billion return in private investment, $38 million in annual net economic benefit and 26,775 jobs. The county has given out about 250 grants in that time, investing about $40 million in businesses. [Washington Examiner]

Developers, Politicians Cut Ribbon On First Class A Office Building Since 2001 — From yesterday afternoon, the ribbon cutting for the 7550 Wisconsin Ave. office building, the renovated former NIH building near the Bethesda Metro station. [BethesdaNow]

Photo via TrafficLand.com

by Aaron Kraut — February 27, 2013 at 7:55 am 1 Comment

Potomac house fire on Monday, via Rockville Volunteer Fire Department

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services said an alert neighbor walking her dog on Monday banged on the front door of a Potomac home just in time to alert two teenagers inside to the flames engulfing the back of the home.

Firefighters were dispatched to the 12400 block of Willow Green Court in Potomac just after 4 p.m. on Monday and found a heavy fire that has left the two teenagers and two others displaced.

The neighbor smelled smoke and found flames in the back of the house, called 911, tied her dog to a nearby mailbox, ran back to the home and pounded on the front door to alert any occupants, according to a MCFRS press release. The teens inside narrowly escaped the fire, MCFRS said, and officials are crediting her with helping them escape safely.

MCFRS investigators determined the fire was accidental and was sparked by cooking materials that had been placed outside to cool. Because of the more than $600,000 in damage to the home, investigators were unable to determine if the home had smoke alarms.

One firefighter suffered non-life threatening injuries at the scene and has been released. About 80 fire rescue personnel responded to the scene, as did the American Red Cross to assist the displaced family.

Photos via Rockville Volunteer Fire Department

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