by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 3:15 pm 3 Comments

The Potomac Crest neighborhood, via Google Maps

A county councilmember and state senator are taking up the cause of some Potomac residents who say Pepco has gone too far with a tree-cutting program in their neighborhood.

Councilmember Roger Berlinger and District 15 State Sen. Brian Feldman asked the state’s Public Service Commission to stop Pepco’s tree-cutting operations for two weeks in the Potomac Crest development.

Residents in the neighborhood, just off Tuckerman Lane and Seven Locks Road, have been fighting with Pepco for months after the power company first attempted to cut down trees on their properties.

Earlier this month, a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge denied a request from the residents to stop Pepco from cutting down the trees. Pepco has an easement on the land dating back to the 1950′s that allows it to cut down trees even on private property if it’s necessary to ensure electric service reliability.

“No one has fought harder for greater reliability in our community, and we fully accept that trees and power lines do not mix. Appropriate vegetation management is necessary to deliver power safely and reliably,” wrote Berliner and Feldman in a letter to PSC Chairman Kevin Hughes. “However, there are reasonable actions that can be taken, and then there are unreasonable, destructive approaches.”


by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 2:15 pm 416 3 Comments

A bicyclist was struck along Old Georgetown Road and crashed into the rear windshield of the white car in this photo Police said the driver who hit the bicyclist fled the scene

An apparent hit and run along Old Georgetown Road sent a bicyclist into a rear windshield and then to the hospital.

MCFRS and police responded to the report of a cyclist struck on northbound Old Georgetown Road near Lucas Lane at about 1:30 p.m. on Friday.

Officers on the scene said a brown vehicle hit a bicyclist in the right lane, sending the man into the back windshield of the vehicle in front of him. The driver of the vehicle that hit the bicyclist fled the scene, police said.

The man was transported to a local hospital to be evaluated for a head injury, according to scanner traffic.

by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 2:00 pm 357 0

Collision at Rockville Pike and Grosvenor Lane, Photo via @lisaluckysevens


Updated at 3:15 p.m. All lanes of Rockville Pike at Grosvenor Lane have been reopened after a car overturned in a Friday afternoon collision.

MCFRS spokesperson Pete Piringer said first responders extricated two victims trapped in the overturned vehicle. The accident happened around 1:45 p.m.

According to a witness, the accident happened when a truck ran a red light and hit a work van that had a piece of glass attached to it.

Photo via @lisaluckysevens

by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 1:40 pm 423 5 Comments

Freddy's Lobsters & Clams, closed on Cordell Avenue

(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) Freddy’s Lobster & Clams has closed, at least temporarily.

A sign posted on the door Friday claims the Bethesda restaurant will reopen under new management. The seafood eatery and bar (4869 Cordell Ave.) was a favorite for many in Woodmont Triangle.

Bethesda Magazine reported Friday afternoon that Patrick Forest and Laura Houlihan, two veterans of the next-door Grapeseed restaurant, have bought the restaurant and plan to reopen it as a new concept after a renovation.

A tipster said the restaurant was closed with no notice to staff or management.

Jeff Heinenman, chef and owner of Grapeseed next door, said he sold his interest in Freddy’s some time ago. Heinenman opened Freddy’s in 2011.

It quickly etched out a solid reputation, especially for its lobster roll.

According to Bethesda Magazine, Forest and Houlihan are planning a new restaurant focused on “refined regional comfort food.”

by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 1:10 pm 0

Phillip Gottwals, co-founder of Friends & FarmsA Columbia-based company that arranges and distributes food deliveries made up of locally-sourced goods has set up a new Bethesda pick-up location.

Friends & Farms, which has mostly concentrated its food basket delivery service in the Baltimore area, will now start hosting weekly pick-ups on Wednesdays at the Pauline Betz Addie Tennis Center (7801 Democracy Blvd.)

The company is pitching the service as a way to keep getting farm-fresh produce, meats and dairy products after area farmer’s markets shut down for the winter. (Bethesda Central Farm Market starts its winter season on Jan. 4 at Bethesda Elementary School.)

“We know that people return to the supermarket when the farmer’s market close down. It doesn’t have to be that way,” Friends & Farms co-founder Phillip Gottwals said. “With the expansion, residents of Montgomery County can avoid returning to the grocery store and continue to shop locally throughout the winter. This, combined with our ability to deliver at a value pricing level, sets us apart from all others in the business.”

Like other similar services, the company purchases and organizes grocery baskets made up of quick-frozen vegetables, shelf-stable items like pickles, jams and broths and the occasional fermented item, such as sauerkraut or kim chi.

The baskets are also made up of a rotation of cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and peppers, plus a number of meat and seafood options that remain largely the same throughout the year.

Customers can pick and choose items in their basket individually, or subscribe to packages ranging from $41 to $104 per week.

The Bethesda pick-up location will be open from 11 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Photo via Friends & Farms

by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 11:25 am 175 1 Comment

Pike & Rose map, via Pike & Rose

New restaurants, retail and a movie theater are just the start of Federal Realty’s massive redevelopment project at the former Mid-Pike Plaza Shopping Center in North Bethesda/White Flint.

The Rockville-based developer known locally for Bethesda Row and Rockville Town Square will announce in an investor call on Friday that it’s fully funded and ready to launch the second phase of Pike & Rose construction.

Construction staging on Phase II of Federal Realty's Pike & Rose project“Phase II” will extend Grand Park Avenue — the new street connecting to Old Georgetown Road — to the northern boundary of the property. It will also include 185,000 additional square feet of ground floor retail divided by 30 stores, another 264 apartment units and 104 luxury condos on top of a 177-room Hilton hotel announced earlier this month.

The announcement comes as Del Frisco’s Grille — the first restaurant to open in Phase I of Pike & Rose — and iPic Theaters embark on their “opening season.” A long list of other restaurants and retailers are scheduled to open over the next few months and into next spring, when Strathmore’s AMP concert venue is expected to open.

Federal Realty says more than 75 percent of the units in its 174-unit PerSei apartment building have been leased following a summer opening. Pallas, a 319-unit luxury high-rise part of Phase I, will open mid-year 2015.

Mid-Pike Plaza, now cleared out to make room for Pike & RoseFederal Realty landed Bank of America Merrill Lynch to lease 40,000 square feet of its 80,000-square-foot Class A office building part of Phase I.

Phase II construction, approved last year by the Planning Board, will start in 2015 and is expected to be complete in 2017.

In total, construction of the 1.5 million square feet of commercial space, 1,605 residential units and network of plaza parks and new streets over the 24 acres that used to be Mid-Pike Plaza will cost an estimated $500 million.

It’s the first major project to come as a result of new land use guidelines prescribed by the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan, meant to create widespread redevelopment of Rockville Pike’s strip shopping centers and surface parking lots into mixed-use, transit-oriented communities.

Map via Pike & Rose

by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 10:10 am 0

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

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

5810 Madaket Road5810 Madaket Road
4 BD | 3.5 BA townhouse
Joseph Zorc, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Listed: $989,000
Open: Sunday, Nov. 2 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

8106 Merrick Road8106 Merrick Road
5 BD | 4.5 BA single family detached
Susan Maguire, Washington Fine Properties
Listed: $2,695,000
Open: Sunday, Nov. 2 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

6605 Radnor Road6605 Radnor Road
7 BD | 5 BA single family detached
Charles Beverly, Evers & Company Real Estate
Listed: $1,795,000
Open: Sunday, Nov. 2 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

11750 Old Georgetown Road11750 Old Georgetown Road
3 BD | 2 BA condominium
Philip Piantone, Long & Foster Real Estate
Listed: $575,000
Open: Sunday, Nov. 2 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 9:10 am 482 0

Add power recliners and an in-movie iPad food ordering system to the list of local movie theater amenities.

iPic, the Boca Raton-based movie theater chain, will open its eight-screen Pike & Rose location on Friday.

The recliners and in-movie food and drink service are the latest perks from a new batch of local theaters seeking to brand themselves as the standard in luxury moviegoing.

Just two weeks ago, Los Angeles-based ArcLight Cinemas opened its 16-screen theater at Westfield Montgomery mall, complete with widescreens and the latest in surround sound technology.

Perhaps sensing the coming competition, Landmark Theatres closed its Bethesda Row Cinema for a month last year for a complete overhaul of the facility’s interior, setting up cozier seating, a new gourmet food and cocktail menu and a reserved seating system in the process.

Reserved seating is also a staple of iPic’s brand. The Pike & Rose location (11580 Old Georgetown Rd.) is the company’s eleventh and its biggest.

It’s located at what’s now the end of Grand Park Avenue in the middle of Federal Realty’s redevelopment of the former Mid-Pike Plaza shopping center. A staircase and escalator takes customers up to the lobby, where there is also an entrance to City Perch, the full-service restaurant with a separate kitchen.

The eight auditoriums range from 84 to 104 seats and each is divided into premium seats up front and multiple tiers of premium plus seats — the orange recliners that move with the push of a button.

Each of the premium plus seats (they cost $22 each on the weekend and $17 during the week with a free membership) includes a small pillow and blanket a la first class seating on an airplane. The seats are positioned in groups of two and angled so iPic’s “ninja servers” won’t block the screen while delivering food and drink orders during a movie.

The popcorn comes free, at least in the premium plus seats. Those who buy the premium seats (which range from $11 to $13 a ticket) can bring food and drinks into the theater.


by Aaron Kraut — October 31, 2014 at 8:05 am 0

The former Mid-Pike Plaza, now under development as part of the second phase of the Pike & Rose project

Tips For A Safe Halloween – The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service has a long list of safety tips for Halloween trick-or-treating. [MCFRS]

Goldsboro Townhouse Project Presentation – The people behind a proposal for 19 townhouses on Goldsboro Road’s “Happy Valley” property will present on Monday at 7 p.m. at a meeting of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board’s land use and transportation committees. The meeting will take place at the Town of Glen Echo town hall (6106 Harvard Ave.). The meeting is open to the public. [Regional Services Center]

B-CC Field Hockey Wins Region Title – The Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School field hockey team beat Wootton, 3-2, on Wednesday in overtime to win the Class 4A South Region title. The Barons will move on to play Quince Orchard on Nov. 5 in the state semifinals in Burtonsville. [The Gazette]

Boloco Gets Into The Halloween Spirit – Boloco, the burrito chain at 4930 Elm St., is offering its Pumpkin Shake for $1, $2 or $3 all day on Friday. Customers who wear a costume into the store will get a small Pumpkin Shake for free.

Go Green, Get Your Name On The Side Of A Bus – Montgomery County is celebrating five years of its Green Business Certification Program by placing ads on the side of its Ride On buses featuring each of the almost 60 businesses that have taken part. Each company in the program will be individually promoted on the side of a bus for at least three months. Almost all of the public service announcements will be visible over the month of November. [Montgomery County]

by Aaron Kraut — October 30, 2014 at 4:20 pm 3 Comments

Bethesda Art Center plan, via Bethesda Art Center

The man pushing for a sprawling arts center in the middle of Bethesda has launched a website, even as it has become apparent an adjacent property owner might not be in the proposal.

David Goldberg, co-owner of Union Hardware at the corner of Norfolk and Wisconsin Avenues, first made public the idea of a Bethesda Art Center on his property and adjacent properties in June.

Goldberg said he has been hearing about the need for a black box theater, studios and artist space for years from local community leaders. Sensing redevelopment of his property is likely, Goldberg is promoting his vision for an art center paid for by new residential units above the facility.

“I’ve been in retail my entire life,” Goldberg said during an online property owners forum hosted on Wednesday by county planners. “We’ve got to find a reason to exist. Without that reason, there’s no point. The same thing sort of held true with this project.”

Bethesda Art Center illustration, via Bethesda Art CenterThe reason Goldberg said he found, with help from the board of Bethesda’s Arts and Entertainment District, was to create a central civic space dedicated to the arts in Bethesda.

Since, Goldberg has attempted to get the support of all the property owners on the block. He also started the website to promote the concept and provide updates as county planners work on a rewrite of Bethesda’s sector plan.

For now at least, it appears one of the property owners on the block — the owner of EagleBank at 7815 Woodmont Ave. — isn’t in on the plan.

On Wednesday, Goldberg released new drawings for the art center that show an L-shaped residential building built above three stories of retail and theater and art studio space.

County planners, looking for opportunities to provide more green space in their Bethesda Downtown Plan, have latched on to Goldberg’s proposal and suggested adding a new public space on Norfolk Avenue as part of the project.

Images via Bethesda Art Center

by Aaron Kraut — October 30, 2014 at 3:10 pm 358 4 Comments

New mural at 4901 Fairmont Ave.

The same studio responsible for the mural at Pizzeria da Marco (8008 Woodmont Ave.) has finished a new painting on the side of another Woodmont Triangle building.

The mural is on the side of 4901 Fairmont Ave., home to Bold Bite and the former BlackFinn space.

The property owner, Greenhill Capital, is also in the approval process to reconstruct the former Fresh Grill building next door.

Mt. Airy-based ATS Studios, which did the art work at Pizzeria da Marco, revealed the finished mural on Thursday and is in line to do another at a reconstructed 4848 Cordell Ave.

Photo via Greenhill Capital

by Aaron Kraut — October 30, 2014 at 2:25 pm 191 0

An armed robbery near the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro and a strong-arm robbery near Randolph Hills lead the most recent 2nd District crime summary:

An armed robbery occurred in the 10600 block of Montrose Avenue in Bethesda on Thursday, 10/16 at 10:00 p.m. The suspect threatened the victim with a weapon and obtained property.

Suspect: black male, 30-35, 6’1″/164 lbs., mustache/beard

A strong-arm robbery occurred in the 11700 block of Parklawn Drive in North Bethesda on Wednesday, 10/5 at 11:00 p.m. The suspects assaulted the victim and unsuccessfully attempted to obtain property.

Suspects: black male, 20-25, 5’7″/160 lbs, corn rows, black male, 20-25, 5’7″, crew cut, two additional black males, both 20-35 

Two thefts from vehicles occurred in the 7100 block of Georgia Street in Chevy Chase overnight between Monday, 10/13 and Tuesday, 10/14. No forced entry. A cell phone was taken.

Nine thefts from vehicles occurred during this reporting period, all involving unlocked vehicles parked in residential areas. Eight of these events occurred during the overnight period of Monday, 10/13 to Tuesday, 10/14 in the same Garrett Park neighborhood (10900 block of Montrose Ave in Garrett Park and 10900 block of Clermont Avenue in Garrett Park). Assorted items left in vehicles were taken, to include wallets, loose change, and glasses.

A residential burglary occurred in the 4800 block of Crescent Street in Bethesda sometime on Friday, 10/17 between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. Forced entry; property taken.

A residential burglary occurred in the 7700 block of Whittier Boulevard in Bethesda on Friday, 10/17 between 1:30 p.m. and 5:20 p.m. Forced entry; property taken.

A residential burglary occurred in the 6200 block of Leeke Forest Court in Bethesda between 1:45 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. No forced entry; property taken.

A residential burglary occurred in the 6300 block of Landon Lane in Bethesda sometime between Monday, 10/20 and Tuesday, 10/21. No forced entry; property taken.

by Aaron Kraut — October 30, 2014 at 1:25 pm 0

District 16 House of Delegates candidate Marc Korman (file photo) Republican District 16 House of Delegates candidate Rose Li speaks to supporters at a fundraiser in September Councilmember Roger Berliner (file photo)
Delegate Susan Lee Councilmembers Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal and Hans Riemer with Republican challenger Robert Dyer (far right) at a candidates forum in May in Chevy Chase (file photo) District 16 Del. Ariana Kelly (file photo)

Before you head to the polls Thursday (the last day of early voting) or on Tuesday, please don’t forget to check out our “Why You Should Vote For Me” series featuring a number of candidates for local county and state seats.

BethesdaNow.com asked all of the candidates a basic question: Why should voters vote for you?

Here are their responses, in 750 words or less:

County Council At-Large

Nancy Floreen (D)
George Leventhal (D)
Hans Riemer (D)
Tim Willard (Green)

Also running: Robert Dyer (R)Marc Elrich (D), Chris Fiotes (R), Adol Owen-Williams (R) and Shelly Skolnick (R)

County Council District 1

Roger Berliner (D)

Also running: Jim Kirkland (R)

House of Delegates District 16 

Marc Korman (D)
Rose Li (R)

Also running: John Andrews (R), Lynda del Castillo (R), Bill Frick (D) and Ariana Kelly (D)

State Senate District 16

Susan Lee (D)

Also running: Meyer Marks (R)

State Senate District 18

Rich Madaleno (D)

by Aaron Kraut — October 30, 2014 at 12:25 pm 0

Councilmember Hans Riemer (file photo)A pair of county councilmembers are calling for a complete overhaul of the way the county decides which child care providers get much sought after space in county schools.

Friction between child care providers and the county’s Community Use of Public Facilities (CUPF) division has been bubbling for more than two years.

The CUPF, with oversight from its governing board (known as the Interagency Coordinating Board, or ICB, ) acts essentially as a leasing agent for county school facilities, renting out space for before and after school child care as well as gyms, auditoriums and playing fields for recreation, religious groups and other events.

After a controversial rebidding process for child care providers led to two lawsuits and many complaints about undisclosed conflicts of interest, unfair standards and school principals with too much sway, Montgomery County proposed a new set of regulations last month.

Many child care providers told the County Council last week that the new regulations were basically more of the same.

On Thursday, Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Nancy Navarro sent a memo to their colleagues asking them to reject the proposed regulations and help create “a dedicated Child Care office and give it a range of responsibilities, from developing a plan to increase access to care in the county, to managing public space needs, to supporting providers.”

“We believe that it is time for an overhaul of this process so that it aligns with our primary policy goal: bringing our communities excellent quality, accessible and affordable child care and after school programs,” Navarro and Riemer wrote. “The responsibility for developing these regulations and managing the selection process should be given to an organization in County government that is mission driven to promote access to quality, affordable care. The revenue that we generate from child care providers in public space should also be used to strengthen the county’s child care services.”

The memo came out hours before the Council’s Health and Human Services and Education Committees are set to meet with county officials in charge of drafting the new regulations.

That meeting is set for 1:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on County Cable Montgomery.

by Aaron Kraut — October 30, 2014 at 11:40 am 317 0

Union Jack's of BethesdaThere are a number of Halloween events around town this weekend for those who have outgrown neighborhood trick-or-treating (and even for those who haven’t):

Bethesda Row celebrates Halloween a night early –  About 40 businesses and restaurants in one of downtown Bethesda’s most popular areas will offer trick-or-treating on Halloween eve.

From 5 p.m.-7 p.m. on Thursday, the stores will offer deals, live entertainment and trick-or-treating for the kids. There will also be a drawing for a $100 gift certificate to the Paper Source.

Nightmare on St. Elmo Street – Union Jack’s (4915 St Elmo Ave.) gets the prize for best event name, plus the Woodmont Triangle bar will be offering specials and costume prizes on both Thursday and Friday nights.

A Captain Jack Sparrow-style Halloween dance party – Dance Bethesda (8227 Woodmont Ave.) is looking for people willing to walk the plank at its pirate-themed session of dance lessons and performances starting at 8 p.m. on Friday. The event costs $15 per person and tickets should be purchased in advance.

Monster Bash at the Doubletree – A few doors down from Dance Bethesda, the DoubleTree Bethesda (8120 Wisconsin Ave.) will put on its “Monster Bash,” event. For $10, guests get a live DJ and dance floor, cash bars, a costume contest and two movie theaters showing horror films. The event starts at 9 p.m.

Costume contest at 4935 – Music and a costume contest are on the agenda at 4935 Bar & Kitchen (4935 Cordell Ave.). Entry is free all night. Festivities start at 10 p.m. and will include a costume contest with prizes for the funniest, sexiest and most original costumes.

Fireball and games at Caddies – Caddies on Cordell (4922 Cordell Ave.) will feature Halloween-inspired Fireball cocktails, $2 Pumpkin Spice shooters, a costume contest, prizes and other giveaways from 4 p.m. to close on Friday.


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