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by Aaron Kraut — May 5, 2015 at 4:30 pm 584 15 Comments

Bethesda Beat logoIn case you haven’t heard, Bethesda Now has officially merged with Bethesda Beat, the daily news publication of Bethesda Magazine.

That means you can head directly to Bethesda Beat for all the latest local news affecting our area.

Looking for a past Bethesda Now story?

Bethesda Now’s article archives will remain online and will eventually be transferred to the Bethesda Magazine website.

Bethesda Magazine will also take ownership of Bethesda Now’s social media accounts and email subscriber list.

So thanks for reading, following and commenting. Please join us at Bethesda Beat.

Any questions?

You can email Bethesda Beat editor Andrew Metcalf at andrew.metcalf@bethesdamagazine.com. 

Or, you can email me at aaron.kraut@bethesdamagazine.com.

by Aaron Kraut — May 5, 2015 at 11:05 am 317 2 Comments

The former site of single-family homes now part of the Suburban Hospital expansion project, Photo via Suburban Hospital

Correction: This post was corrected to provide updated information about the Suburban Hospital enhancement project and the correct location of the demolished homes.

Homes that used to surround Suburban Hospital are being demolished and cleared out to make way for the first phase of the medical center’s $272 million expansion project.

In March, Suburban got permits to move forward with the demolition of the 10 single-family homes it bought and that were vacant on Southwick Street.

Crews are clearing trees, shrubs and other brush to make way for the interim parking lot.

That lot will provide parking to the existing hospital facilities while workers build a new 1,125-space parking garage on the site of the hospital’s existing garage.

Once the new garage is built (it’s scheduled to be completed in 2017) work will begin on the new four-story, 300,000-square-foot clinical center on the site of the interim parking lot.

The work will also mean the closure of Lincoln Street between Old Georgetown Road and Grant Street in the coming months.

Photo via Suburban Hospital

by Aaron Kraut — May 5, 2015 at 9:00 am 867 0

A small fire in a conference room on Monday night has a Potomac private school closed on Tuesday.

Alerted by an automatic fire alarm, firefighters responded to the fire a little after 10 p.m. Monday at the Connelly School of the Holy Child (9029 Bradley Boulevard).

MCFRS spokesperson Pete Piringer said the fire was caused by oily rags that spontaneously combusted. There were no injuries and the fire caused about $50,000 in damage to the conference room of the main building.

The school is closed on Tuesday, though AP Calculus students reported to the school as planned to take their exams.

Photos via @mcfrsPIO

by Aaron Kraut — May 5, 2015 at 8:00 am 340 4 Comments

Flickr photo by ehpien

Former Superintendent Paul Vance Dies — Dr. Paul Vance, who was superintendent of MCPS from 1991-1999, died over the weekend. He was 83. [MCPS]

Unconfirmed Coyote Sightings — Residents near Ayrlawn Park claim they’ve seen coyotes in their neighborhood. Montgomery County hasn’t been able to confirm the animals were coyotes, which would rather avoid populated areas. [NBC Washington]

Transit Task Force To Hold Public Forum — The county’s Transit Task Force, which has been revived to examine County Executive Isiah Leggett’s pitch for a transit authority, will hold a countywide public forum on June 17 at a yet-to-be-announced location. [Montgomery County]

Green School Certification For Green Acres School — The Green Acres School (11701 Danville Drive) last week was certified as a Maryland Green School. Certified schools promote “responsible environmental stewardship practices,” and incorporate environmental concepts into educational programs. [Green Acres School]

Flickr photo by ehpien

by Aaron Kraut — May 4, 2015 at 3:00 pm 211 0

2011 Front Row runway event, via Bethesda RowThis year’s fashion and style event at Bethesda Row will feature Aliza Licht, the New York fashion publicist behind the popular DKNY PR Girl Twitter account and the author of a career advice book called “Leave Your Mark.”

The seventh annual Front Row at Bethesda Row will kick off Thursday, May 28 with an exclusive screening of “Dior and I,” a documentary following Christian Dior creative director Raf Simons. Limited complimentary seating will be available to the public by emailing dior[at]brandlinkdc[dot]com.

On Friday, May 29, Licht will sign copies of her book from 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. on Bethesda Lane.

The Front Row runway event will start at 7:30 p.m. and feature items from Bethesda Row fashion retailers.

On Saturday, May 30, those retailers will hold trunk shows and sales. Shoppers who buy more than $150 worth of items throughout the day will get a branded makeup bag from retailers including Bethesda Row’s Bluemercury.

Photo via Bethesda Row

by Aaron Kraut — May 4, 2015 at 11:15 am 440 0

5704 Bent Branch Road 5211 Norway Drive 9503 Milstead Drive

Check out the condo, townhouse and home sales closed last week in Bethesda and Chevy Chase:

  • 5225 Pooks Hill Road; 1 BD | 1 BA condominium; List price: $200,000; Sale price: $190,000
  • 5500 Friendship Boulevard; 0 BD | 1 BA condominium; List price: $205,000; Sale price: $200,000
  • 5225 Pooks Hill Road; 2 BD | 1 BA condominium; List price: $224,900; Sale price: $224,900
  • 4620 North Park Avenue; 1 BD | 1 BA condominium; List price: $265,000; Sale price: $250,000
  • 4822 Chevy Chase Drive; 1 BD | 1 BA condominium; List price: $269,999; Sale price: $252,500
  • 4515 Willard Avenue; 1 BD | 1 BA condominium; List price: $259,900; Sale price: $254,000
  • 5225 Pooks Hill Road; 2 BD | 2 BA; List price: $410,000; Sale price: $255,000
  • 4515 Willard Avenue; 1 BD | 2 BA condominium; List price: $290,000; Sale price: $273,000
  • 4601 North Park Avenue; 1 BD | 1 BA condominium; List price: $339,900; Sale price: $300,000
  • 10506 Weymouth Street; 3 BD | 2 BA condominium; List price: $335,000; Sale price: $330,000
  • 4977 Battery Lane; 2 BD | 1 BA condominium; List price: $334,500; Sale price: $339,500
  • 5225 Pooks Hill Road; 2 BD | 2 BA condominium; List price: $375,000; Sale price: $375,000
  • 7036 Strathmore Street; 2 BD | 1 BA condominium; List price: $425,000; Sale price: $408,000
  • 10101 Grosvenor Place; 2 BD | 2 BA condominium; List price: $475,000; Sale price: $460,000

(more…)

by Aaron Kraut — May 4, 2015 at 10:10 am 1,242 32 Comments

ACT President Nick Brand in front of the Columbia Country Club on Monday ACT member Ronit Dancis  in front of the Columbia Country Club on Monday

A group of staunch Purple Line advocates feels members of a Chevy Chase country club long opposed to the light rail are getting an unfair amount of access to Gov. Larry Hogan and his advisors.

About 10 members of the Action Committee for Transit (ACT) on Monday stood on the sidewalk in front of the Columbia Country Club on Connecticut Avenue waving signs reading “Jobs Not Golf.”

Two weeks ago, ACT claimed members of the Columbia Country Club have met with state Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn and other Hogan advisors in two separate meetings to make their case against the Purple Line.

Hogan is expected to announce a decision this month on whether he’ll move forward with the estimated $2.45 billion project.

ACT would like Montgomery County to look into whether actions of those club members violate a 2013 legal settlement between the state, the county and the club in which the club agreed to drop all opposition to the Purple Line if the light rail line was moved 12 feet north to save four golf course holes.

A Bethesda Magazine report cited sources who said at least four members of the club met with Rahn on March 9. Members of the club were also involved in a January fundraiser for Hogan held in Chevy Chase.

“We know and we have heard that they’ve been able to meet with the governor’s advisors and make their case against the line, whereas we have not and people in the business community have not been able to make their case,” ACT President Nick Brand said Monday.

(more…)

by Aaron Kraut — May 4, 2015 at 9:00 am 703 3 Comments

The Collection at Chevy Chase where MCDOT will install new parking meters, via Chevy Chase Land Company

There will be no more free parking at a popular parking spot in Friendship Heights.

This month and through June, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation will install parking meters just outside the GEICO corporate office, along the southbound side of Friendship Boulevard between Willard Avenue and Western Avenue.

MCDOT will install meters in two other spots nearby, according to a county announcement over the weekend.

Meters will be installed along northbound Wisconsin Avenue between Willard Avenue and Somerset Terrace. There will be no parking at the meters during rush hour.

The same is true for Willard Avenue between Friendship Boulevard and Baltimore Avenue, where MCDOT will put in meters on the eastbound side of the road.

All meters will allow up to two hours parking.

Regional Services Center Director Ken Hartman said the meters will encourage more turnover in the spaces, hopefully improving parking availability.

Hartman said last September that the meters for Friendship Heights were in the planning stage.

(more…)

by Aaron Kraut — May 4, 2015 at 8:00 am 224 0

Flickr pool photo by John R Whitaker

Van Hollen, Edwards Square Off In Rockville — In a Sunday candidates forum, Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Rep. Donna Edwards debated for the first time in what’s expected to be a competitive primary for Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s seat. Edwards tried to point to small differences in Van Hollen’s record, while Van Hollen said being a straight, white man hasn’t stopped him from fighting for the rights of gay state employees, women and children with disabilities. [Washington Post]

Woodmont Triangle Restaurant Set To Open Friday — Barrel and Crow, the new restaurant set for the former Freddy’s Lobster & Clams spot, will open on Friday at (4869 Cordell Avenue). [Bethesda Magazine]

House Fire Displaces Two — A house fire Saturday morning at 5415 Wilson Lane caused about $90,000 in damages and left two residents displaced. The fire was caused by improperly placed fireplace ashes. [Montgomery Community Media]

Barve Hits “The Kojo Nnamdi Show” — Del. Kumar Barve, who’s running for Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s 8th District House seat, appeared on “The Kojo Nnamdi Show” on Friday. Barve talked about his support from the Indian American community and his similarities to campaign opponent Jamie Raskin. [YouTube]

Council Schools Budget Comes In Short Of MCPS Request — The County Council Education Committee’s recommended budget for MCPS is about $39.7 million short of the school system’s requested $2.39 billion. County Executive Isiah Leggett’s budget proposal was about $55 million short of the school system’s request. [The Gazette]

Flickr pool photo by John R Whitaker

by Aaron Kraut — May 1, 2015 at 3:20 pm 2,338 5 Comments

The "Mushroom House" at 4949 Allan Road, Flickr pool photo by Frank Sheehan

Bethesda’s famous “Mushroom House” is off the market.

The four-bedroom, three-bathroom home on Allan Road near the D.C. line went on sale to much fanfare in late October.

This week, the home’s new owners closed on it for $920,000. It was listed at $1.2 million.

Previous owners Edward and Frances Garfinkle are responsible for the home’s look. They moved into the house in 1967. A few years later, the Garfinkles tabbed futuristic architect Roy Mason to completely remake what used to be a typical two-story stucco.

In 2013, Ed Garfinkle told Bethesda Magazine that the expensive remodel almost made the family broke: “We did this when we were young. Looking back on it, it was probably kind of dumb.”

Flickr pool photo by Frank Sheehan

by Aaron Kraut — May 1, 2015 at 2:30 pm 180 1 Comment

Cedar Lane east of Rockville Pike

Crews working on an intersection project in Bethesda will close a sidewalk for approximately two weeks starting on Sunday.

The State Highway Administration said it must install new storm drains along Cedar Lane just east of Rockville Pike.

The work will begin Sunday night and close the sidewalk on the north side of Cedar Lane between Rockville Pike and Elmhirst Parkway. It will also require some single lane closures between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Pedestrians will be able to use the sidewalk on the south side of Cedar Lane, next to the Stone Ridge School.

It’s part of a $13.8 million project to add new travel and turn lanes to Cedar Lane as it approaches Rockville Pike. The project is one of a few area intersection improvements either completed, in progress or planned near Naval Support Activity-Bethesda, now home to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

The project will also include new traffic signals at Elmhirst Parkway and Cedar Lane. Construction is expected to be complete in late summer 2016.

by Aaron Kraut — May 1, 2015 at 1:30 pm 1,413 31 Comments

Purple Line route and station map, via Maryland Transit AdministrationA group of almost two dozen Chevy Chase residents is again threatening to sue the state of Maryland to stop the Purple Line, this time over a wide range of complaints.

The Notice of Intent to Sue was sent on Thursday. In it, the group alleges that the Maryland Transit Administration failed to do a comprehensive environmental impact statement (EIS) for the light rail project and that changes to the project since the EIS was issued in August 2013 mean a new study is required.

“The State’s failure to publish a full and fair environmental effects report, as required by law, has left Maryland’s elected leadership, communities and affected citizens with a false impression of nearly every important element of the viable, less expensive and more efficient alternatives to the Project, and most importantly, the likely very serious impacts that going forward with the Project will visit upon the environment, Maryland citizens, and the public interest generally,” read the document.

It’s the second time the group, led by Chevy Chase environmental lawyer John Fitzgerald, has threatened to sue the state over the Purple Line project.

Fitzgerald said he never filed the first suit against the state, but that he could still do so.

Fitzgerald and others recently expanded their active lawsuit against the federal government to include many of the same concerns.

(more…)

by Aaron Kraut — May 1, 2015 at 10:25 am 664 14 Comments

County Executive Isiah Leggett at a bus rapid transit event in August 2014County Executive Isiah Leggett has revived the group that first laid out how a countywide bus rapid transit system might work to examine his controversial proposal for an Independent Transit Authority.

The Transit Task Force has met once as a full group and once in smaller working groups to look at if Leggett’s transit authority idea could be improved.

After an unfavorable report from a Council analyst and heaps of criticism from civic leaders, Leggett asked state lawmakers to withdraw a state bill that would’ve enabled the creation of the Independent Transit Authority, or ITA, earlier this year.

On April 6, Leggett sent a letter to Transit Task Force Chair Mark Winston explaining how he hoped the group can help improve the idea:

As you know, last December I proposed enactment by the General Assembly of legislation (MC-24-15) that would have enabled Montgomery County to establish a transit authority, and accomplish other purposes.  That proposal became controversial and, since it was obvious that it would not be enacted in the 2015 Session of the General Assembly, I asked that it be withdrawn.  However, while I have been open to other proposals that might be made that would allow the County to pursue its goal of having a comprehensive transit system at the earliest practicable time, I continue to believe that my proposal for a transit authority is the best approach.

I ask that the Task Force study the legislation that I proposed, develop procedures for soliciting community and commercial input to its deliberations, offer its comments, and provide advice and recommendations on how it may be improved.

(more…)

by Aaron Kraut — May 1, 2015 at 9:15 am 197 0

Check out our picks for open houses around Bethesda this weekend.

See our Real Estate section for a full listing of open houses and houses for sale:

8912 Burdette Road 68912 Burdette Road 6*
4 BD | 4.5 BA single family detached
Jan Evans, Beasley Real Estate
Listed: $1,874,000
Open: Sunday, May 3 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

10203 Arizona Circle 310203 Arizona Circle 3
4 BD | 2 full, 2 half BA condominium
Jeanne Koerber, Re/Max Success
Listed: $599,000
Open: Sunday, May 3 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

8502 Bradmoor Drive8502 Bradmoor Drive
6 BD | 5.5 BA single family detached
Bradley Rozansky, Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
Listed: $1,925,000
Open: Sunday, May 3 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

6304 Bells Mill Road6304 Bells Mill Road
3 BD | 2 BA single family detached
Victoria Capone, Re/Max Realty Group
Listed: $600,000
Open: Saturday, May 2 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

*Denotes sponsored listing

by Aaron Kraut — May 1, 2015 at 8:10 am 287 1 Comment

Bethesda Central Farm Market, photo via Mike Landsman

Ana Sol Gutierrez To Run For Congress — District 18 Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez will be the fourth person to officially enter the contest for Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s 8th District seat when she files today. Gutierrez was first elected to the General Assembly in 2002 after serving two terms on the Montgomery County Board of Education. [Bethesda Magazine]

Appeals Court Upholds Lululemon Murder Conviction — The Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed the first-degree murder conviction of Brittany Norwood this week. Norwood, who was convicted of killing Lululemon coworker Jayna Murray in the Bethesda Avenue store, claimed she was improperly questioned by detectives. [Washington Post]

Firm Tasked With Planning ‘Rubik’s Cube’ Of NIH Campus — D.C. architecture firm Perkins & Will will help NIH renovate part of Building 10 on the Bethesda campus. The clinical research hospital includes almost a dozen NIH institutes and centers. The firm was awarded a $150 million contract for the project. [Washington Business Journal]

Nebel Street Bicycle Lanes — MCDOT will present options for Nebel Street bike lanes during a public meeting on Monday, May 18 at 7 p.m. The options include on-road buffered lanes and separated lanes that would run on Nebel Street between Randolph Road and Marinelli Road. The meeting is set for the Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center (5900 Executive Boulevard). [MCDOT]

Photo via Mike Landsman

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