by Aaron Kraut — December 22, 2014 at 6:25 pm 331 0

Gringos and Mariachi closed on Monday night because of a water main issue on Cordell Avenue

One of Bethesda’s busiest block of restaurants was temporarily shut down on Monday night because of an apparent water main issue on the street.

Water service was turned off on Cordell Avenue just before 5 p.m., according to several restaurant managers in the area.

At 6:20 p.m., WSSC reported water service had been restored. WSSC later tweeted that a contractor working for it “hit a service connection.”

A quick emergency shutdown was done to make repairs and restore H2o,” WSSC said.

Heckman’s Delicatessen manager Ronnie Heckman said he had to turn away about 15 customers during that time. Popular happy hour sport and sports bar Caddies on Cordell was dark and empty around 6 p.m.

Gringos and Mariachis was closed and across the street, 4935 Bar and Kitchen was figuring out how to manage a pre-scheduled private event.

The water main shutdown apparently stemmed from the construction in front of the 4848 Cordell Avenue building. That building is being partially rebuilt into a restaurant space.

Restaurants on Cordell Avenue from Woodmont Avenue to Old Georgetown Road were all affected.

by Aaron Kraut — December 22, 2014 at 3:25 pm 1 Comment

Woodglen Drive cycle track, finished, Via Montgomery County

Montgomery County has finished installing its first cycle track.

The 1,500-foot long buffered bicycle lane has been in the works for months on Woodglen Drive between Edson Lane and Nicholson Lane.

It leads directly into the off-road terminus of the Bethesda Trolley Trail at Edson Lane and plans are in the works to extend it past Nicholson Lane all the way to the White Flint Metro station.

It is the first bicycle facility of its kind in Montgomery County. The cycle track strategy has become common in major cities as a way to encourage on-road bicycling, but with the comfort of a buffer area. In this case, it’s a series of pylons dividing bicyclists from a row of street parking.

“I am committed to creating walkable and bikeable smart growth communities in our urbanized areas, and cycle tracks are an important element in ensuring safe access for our bicyclists,” County Executive Isiah Leggett said in a press release. “As we further expand our 51-station Bikeshare program and enhance our sustainable, transit-oriented infrastructure with more pedestrian and bike trails, we are boosting the desirability of Montgomery County as an attractive place in which to live, work and visit. The future economic health and competitiveness of Montgomery County is tied to providing more alternative transportation options that help reduce traffic congestion.”


by Aaron Kraut — December 22, 2014 at 2:30 pm 0

Flickr photo by MoneyBlogNewzAlmost 32 percent of Maryland retailers part of a random inspection sold cigarettes to those under the age of 18, a result the state’s top health official called “embarrassing.”

The state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said it conducted the checks from May to September. It is against state and federal law to sell cigarettes to people younger than 18.

“It is embarrassing that cigarettes are easier for kids to get in Maryland than everywhere else,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “Legislation is needed so that retailers who violate the law and sell tobacco to minors are at risk of losing their licenses.”

The checks found that 16.2 percent of 75 Montgomery County retailers part of the inspections sold cigarettes to those younger than 18. That number was 30.6 percent in Prince George’s County and 40 percent in Baltimore County, though in both cases inspectors checked dozens more stores.


by Aaron Kraut — December 22, 2014 at 1:15 pm 330 21 Comments

Proposed design for the Chevy Chase Lake Purple Line station, Connecticut Avenue crossing, via Montgomery County Planning Department

A group of local developers and business leaders are banding together to convince Governor-elect Larry Hogan not to kill the Purple Line.

The group, calling itself the Economic Partners of the Purple Line, sent a letter to Hogan on Friday warning him that cancelling or delaying the 16-mile light rail “would have drastic consequences, including the loss of almost $1 billion in federal funding and approximately $170 million in state funds that have already been spent on engineering and right-of-way acquisition.”

It’s the latest appeal to Hogan to maintain the 2015 construction start date for the Purple Line, which the Anne Arundel County Republican has indicated he thinks is a waste of money.

Among the developers behind the letter include some local heavy hitters with major projects dependent on the light rail being built. The Chevy Chase Land Company, which won’t be allowed to start a substantial part of its Chevy Chase Lake redevelopment without a new Purple Line station, reportedly organized the effort.

The group argued that the project “will generate economic activity that far exceeds the initial investment of $2.45 billion in federal, state, and private dollars.”

The letter cited a 2014 study by the American Public Transportation Association, which estimated that every roughly $1 billion spent on transit generates between $3.7 billion in economic activity.


by Aaron Kraut — December 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm 347 3 Comments

Dave & Buster's closed at White Flint Mall

As 2015 approaches, we’re looking back at 2014 by reviewing some of the top local stories in Bethesda and Chevy Chase.

Today, we’ll take a look at some editor’s picks for most interesting and bizarre of the year:

Receipt for a "F*** ton of mayo" (Photo via Neil Greenberger)Bethesda Burger Joint Provides Customer With ‘F*** Ton Of Mayo’

Theresa Currier made her instructions clear: Make sure the people at Woodmont Triangle burger place Smashburger provide more than an average amount of mayo. In fact, she told her co-worker making the order to use the words “with a f*** ton of mayo,” to get the point across.

Whoever took the order took that request literally. The receipt came back with the words printed on it and with a container of mayo on the side.

“I wanted them to know I was serious,” said Currier, who works at the Bone Jour pet grooming shop on St Elmo Avenue. “I didn’t want a little kid’s amount of mayo.”

Locals Complain That Intense Lost Dog Search Has Gone Too Far

Janet Mihalyfi’s dog ran off while out on a walk on the Bethesda side of the Dalecarlia Reservoir. The D.C. resident began an exhaustive search, posting flyers, enlisting volunteers and hiring dogs to track down her pup’s scent. But the seemingly innocuous search rubbed some the wrong way.

By February, a few months after her dog Havoc had run away, people in Bethesda were tearing down her lost dog signs, claiming they were posted illegally and littering area intersections. Havoc is still missing.


by Aaron Kraut — December 22, 2014 at 11:25 am 163 0

8303 Bryant Drive 7315 University Avenue 6705 Tusculum Road

Check out the condos and homes that sold last week in Bethesda and Chevy Chase:

  • 10320 Westlake Drive; 2 BD | 2 BA condominium; List price: $199,000; Sale price: $175,000
  • 10655 Montrose Avenue; 1 BD | 1 BA condominium; List price: $219,900; Sale price: $206,000
  • 5225 Pooks Hill Road; 2 BD | 1 BA condominium; List price: $210,000; Sale price: $210,000
  • 5225 Pooks Hill Road; 2 BD | 1 BA condominium; List price: $249,000; Sale price: $227,000
  • 4801 Fairmont Avenue; 1 BD | 1 BA condominium; List price: $314,999; Sale price: $301,000
  • 9929 Mayfield Drive; 3 BD | 2 BA single family detached; List price: $545,000; Sale price: $535,000
  • 4990 Sentinel Drive; 2 BD | 2 BA condominium; List price: $575,000; Sale price: $550,000
  • 10113 Ashburton Lane; 4 BD | 2.5 BA single family detached; List price: $709,000; Sale price: $625,000
  • 5905 Grosvenor Lane; 4 BD | 2.5 BA single family detached; List price: $725,000; Sale price: $625,000
  • 5801 Melvern Drive; 4 BD | 2 BA single family detached; List price: $604,500; Sale price: $625,575
  • 9501 Bulls Run Parkway; 3 BD | 2 BA single family detached; List price: $729,900; Sale price: $675,000
  • 6705 Tusculum Road; 5 BD | 3 BA single family detached; List price: $699,900; Sale price: $707,000
  • 5919 Ramsgate Road; 3 BD | 2 BA single family detached; List price: $819,000; Sale price: $769,000
  • 5608 Newington Road; 3 BD | 2.5 BA single family detached; List price: $916,000; Sale price: $850,000
  • 5600 Wisconsin Avenue; 2 BD | 2 BA condominium; List price: $1,075,000; Sale price: $917,500
  • 7315 University Avenue; 4 BD | 3.5 BA single family detached; List price: $1,025,000; Sale price: $975,000
  • 6820 Wisconsin Avenue; 3 BD | 3 BA condominium; List price: $1,095,000; Sale price: $1,050,000
  • 7109 Darby Road; 4 BD | 5 BA single family detached; List price: $1,350,000; Sale price: $1,187,500
  • 8606 Bradley Bouelvard; 6 BD | 6 BA single family detached; List price: $1,695,000; Sale price: $1,460,000
  • 8303 Bryant Drive; 5 BD | 4.5 BA single family detached; List price: $1,849,000; Sale price: $1,725,000

Photos via MRIS

5919 Ramsgate Road 5600 Wisconsin Avenue 9501 Bulls Run Parkway

by Aaron Kraut — December 22, 2014 at 10:15 am 0

spendingMontgomery shows payments for the county's Capital Bikeshare system

The latest open data website from Montgomery County shows where the government spends its money, how much each check is worth and who is getting paid.

spendingMontgomery, part of the county’s new set of financial transparency databases, allows users to break down county government spending by department, type of expense and compare this fiscal year’s spending totals to last year’s.

“Every single check cut by the Department of Finance, save those omitted for safety and privacy concerns, is now at the public’s fingertips,” Councilmember Hans Riemer said in a press release.

“For example, if a resident wants to know how much money is being spent on office supplies, they can find it easily,” Riemer said. “Likewise, spendingMontgomery allows access to the raw data for more robust analysis by residents, budget analysts, advocacy groups and other interested parties. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results of our open data initiative.”

Riemer helped pass the county’s open data law in 2012 that requires all county departments to publish datasets on the county’s open data website.

The county’s $5 billion operating budet and $4.45 billion six-year capital budget can be drilled down to specific expenses, projects and offices within departments.

The county’s greatest expense by far are transfers to Montgomery County Public Schools, with $411 million transferred to MCPS so far this fiscal year and $1.47 billion transferred to the school system in FY 14.


by Aaron Kraut — December 22, 2014 at 9:00 am 494 5 Comments

Kraze Burgers space on Elm Street will become a Gusto Italian Grill

A fast casual Italian eatery is coming to the vacant restaurant space at 4733 Elm Street near Bethesda Row.

Property owner Lenny Greenberg confirmed the new tenant, which recently launched a website announcing the concept. Blogger Robert Dyer first reported the news.

The New Jersey-based Gusto boasts “simple, fresh Italian foods crafted with locally-grown, sustainable ingredients.”

Customers choose from three entrees: The Gusto Italian Roll-Up (basically an Italian burrito) a pasta bowl or a salad bowl. The Roll-Ups are made Chipotle style, in an assembly line with either pasta or beans, grilled chicken steak, meatballs or pulled pork, vegetables and cheese toppings plus a sauce all wrapped up in a flatbread.

There will also be “a fun selection of organic Italian sodas,” bread sticks and gelato pops for desert, according to the website.

Gusto will fill the space left vacant by Korean burger chain Kraze Burgers in January. The Virginia-based operation filed for bankruptcy.

A representative for Gusto could not be reached Monday morning.

by Aaron Kraut — December 22, 2014 at 8:50 am 0

A tiny bit of ice accumulation is possible for much of Montgomery County on Monday.

The National Weather Service has issued a Freezing Rain Advisory for the county and much of the D.C. area until 6 p.m. Monday.

The NWS says freezing rain may start out as sleet and could mean “a trace of ice accumulation,” especially on elevated surfaces:









by Aaron Kraut — December 22, 2014 at 8:10 am 0

Grand Park Avenue at Pike & Rose, Flickr photo by Dan Reed

Whitman Senior Names All-Met Soccer Player Of The Year – Walt Whitman High School senior Clare Severe was named the Washington Post’s All-Met Soccer Player of the Year. Severe scored nine goals and recorded five assists in leading Whitman to its second straight 4A State title. Teammate Emma Anderson was named to the All-Met First Team. [Washington Post]

Elementary School Going Auxiliary Over Winter Break – Wood Acres Elementary School will transition to the county’s auxiliary facility at the Radnor Center over winter break. Wood Acres is set for a school addition project starting in 2015. The Radnor Center is about a mile-and-a-half away. [Bethesda Magazine]

Town of Chevy Chase Planning Session Rescheduled – A Town of Chevy Chase worksession about the future of two county parking lots has been rescheduled to Jan. 12, according to Town manager Todd Hoffman. The Town has hired its own planning consultant to come up with a proposal for the land that could be recommended for big changes in the Bethesda Downtown Plan. [Town of Chevy Chase]

Flickr photo by Dan Reed

by Aaron Kraut — December 19, 2014 at 4:35 pm 599 1 Comment

Bear climbs down tree near NIH/Medical Center Metro (file photo) Clyde's Tower Oaks Lodge restaurant, via Facebook I-270 shut down in March as police search for bank robbery suspects, via TrafficLand.com

As 2015 approaches, we’ll look back at 2014 by reviewing some of the top local stories and trends that defined Bethesda this year.

First, what was popular? Following are BethesdaNow.com’s top five most read stories in 2014. Check back next week for more, including a look at the storylines that could be prominent in 2015:

No. 5 | Vince & Dominic’s Closes After 31 Years In Bethesda | 8,006 pageviews 

The venerable pizza shop certainly wasn’t fancy, which many of its longtime fans seemed to appreciate. The shop, stuffed into a strip shopping center near a Home Depot, closed in May after claiming its landlord decided not to renew its lease. That set off an outpouring of love for the place known for its simple menu and Kosher for Passover pizzas.

No. 4 | Cops Stop Traffic On I-270 To Catch Bank Robbery Suspects | 11,946 pageviews

A group of alleged bank robbers were heading south on I-270 near the Capital Beltway when police decided to use an unusual tactic to catch them: Stop traffic on both ways of the busy highway and search car-by-car.

Though police wouldn’t confirm it at the time, the bag of stolen cash had a GPS locator in it. That allowed authorities to know roughly where the alleged robbers were. Police said that when the suspects realized why traffic was stopped, they tossed the bag of cash in a dump truck nearby.

No. 3 | Bear Gets Stuck In A Tree At NIH | 13,865 pageviews

A black bear that had strayed too far south sparked a minor sensation when it got scared, climbed up a large tree at the NIH campus and then refused to come down until scared from its perch by firecrackers.

After an hours-long standoff, and with a gaggle of reporters hoping to catch the bear’s every move, the animal was finally tranquilized by Department of Natural Resources officials and safely returned to a more suitable habitat far away from Bethesda. In the meantime, someone started an NIH Bear Twitter account that exists to this day.


by Aaron Kraut — December 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm 410 0

Photo via @mcfrsPIO

Updated at 5:05 p.m. – Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service units are on the scene of an outdoor natural gas line break in the Friendship Heights section of Chevy Chase.

The gas line break was reported near the intersection of Willard Avenue and Shoemaker Farm Lane just before 4 p.m. It was apparently the result of work from a construction crew on-site.

Shoemaker Farm Lane and Willard Avenue are shut down as MCFRS responds. Willard Avenue has been shut down west of Wisconsin Avenue all the way to its intersection with North Park Avenue.

MCFRS spokesperson Pete Piringer said less than 12 people in buildings near the gas leak have been evacuated.

The area is being cleared until gas company officials can turn off the line.

Photo via @mcfrsPIO

by Aaron Kraut — December 19, 2014 at 3:20 pm 1,519 14 Comments

The Chase At Bethesda, via The Chase at Bethesda(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) The Board of Directors at a luxury Bethesda condo claims a man climbed up the outside of the building and entered an unlocked unit last weekend.

According to an alert sent to all residents at The Chase at Bethesda (7500 Woodmont Avenue), the incident took place in the early morning hours of Saturday, Dec. 13.

The man, apparently drunk, got into a unit on the fifth floor of the building by climbing up the balconies “until he found a balcony that was unlocked.”

Montgomery County Police were notified of the incident and the Board told residents that it is working closely with the department. There were no signs of forced entry into the unit.

Capt. David Falcinelli, commander of the Montgomery County’s 2nd Police District, said police were told the suspect was known to the security officer at the building. It was treated as a trespassing with a written report but no arrest.

“It is not an ongoing issue where the public needs to worry,” Falcinelli said.

The full text of the alert is after the jump:


by Aaron Kraut — December 19, 2014 at 11:35 am 3 Comments

Bethesda Cares Executive Director Sue Kirk (left) accepts a donation from Bold Bite's Maria Roche on ThursdayThe nonprofit helping to find permanent housing for Bethesda’s homeless got a holiday gift from a local business on Thursday.

Bold Bite, the hot dog, hamburger and breakfast place at 4901 Fairmont Avenue, raised $110 for homeless prevention nonprofit Bethesda Cares by dedicating 30 percent of its sales on one night last week.

Thanks to a connection to one of Bethesda Cares’ board members, Bold Bite’s Maria Roche and husband Alonso Roche came up with the idea.

She said the partnership made sense, considering Bethesda Cares (7728 Woodmont Avenue) is right around the corner. Sue Kirk, the nonprofit’s executive director, and Amy Freeman, its development director, also happen to be regular customers.

On Monday, Bold Bite kept the giving going by donating 30 percent of its dinner sales to nonprofit DC Central Kitchen.

Thursday was also the annual Goodwill Dinner at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad. The county’s Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce and the Bethesda Hyatt helped cook and serve meals for almost 400 in-need individuals and their families in the Bethesda area.

All who attended, including some Bethesda Cares clients, got winter hats, gloves and scarves. Children got toys and a chance to get photos with Santa.

Interested in donating or helping out Bethesda Cares this holiday season?

Contact Freeman at amy[at]bethesdacares[dot]org. Bethesda Cares will also host a special holiday meal program on Saturday at Bethesda Presbyterian Church (7611 Clarendon Road), complete with volunteer carol singers.

by Aaron Kraut — December 19, 2014 at 10:55 am 0

Montgomery County sealAll county government buildings and offices will be closed for Christmas on Thursday, Dec. 25 and New Year’s Day on Thursday, Jan. 1.

For restaurants that will be open on Christmas Day, check out our list here. For New Year’s Eve events, check out our list here.

Now, for details on the holiday closings and schedule changes:

County Offices — Closed

Libraries — Closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1; all branches will close at 6 p.m. on Dec. 24 and 31

County liquor stores — Closed

Recreation — All facilities closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1; senior centers, community and neighborhood recreation centers will be closed Dec. 25 through Jan. 1; aquatics programs operating on a modified schedule, contact each facility directly

Montgomery Parks — All Parks facilities are closed both days. For operating schedules during the holidays, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks, tennis centers, trains and carousels, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org.

Ride On, Metrobus and Metrorail — Sunday schedule; more Metrorail details here.

TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) — Closed

Refuse/recycling pickup – No collection. Regular Thursday collections will be provided on Friday and regular Friday collections will be provided on Saturday.

Shady Grove Transfer Station — Closed; Transfer Station will close at 5 p.m. on Dec. 24.

Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters — Free. County government wants to remind those who leave their cars in county lots while out of town to double-check that they are parking in a long-term space. Montgomery County also says it’s not liable for theft or vandalism that may occur.

MCPS Administrative Offices — Closed

State offices and courts — Closed


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