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by Aaron Kraut — April 27, 2015 at 12:05 pm 3 Comments

A downtown Bethesda bicycle shop is temporarily closed as it deals with damage from a broken water pipe that flooded virtually the entire store.

It also owes more than $33,000 in rent, according to a District Court notice posted on its front door.

Freshbikes (7626 Old Georgetown Road) was flooded two weeks ago when a pipe burst and shot water all over the store. Someone recorded the video of the incident with their cellphone.

Freshbikes in downtown BethesdaThe shop, which does bike fittings, bike maintenance and sells equipment, has been closed for almost two weeks because of the damage. It is directing all customers to its locations in Arlington and Falls Church.

Meanwhile, the shop has a May 6 court date regarding the rent it allegedly owes landlord Bozzuto Management for February and March.

On April 15, the date of the water pipe break, Freshbikes posted a Facebook message, reading, “We are experiencing difficulties at our Bethesda location. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause. If you are trying to get in touch with Bethesda please feel free to call Arlington and we will do our best to assist you. We appreciate your continued patience.”

Freshbikes staff at its Virginia locations couldn’t be reached for comment on Monday morning.

The store is on the first floor of the Metropolitan apartment building at the corner of Old Georgetown Road and Woodmont Avenue.

Video via Scott Mcahren/YouTube

by Aaron Kraut — April 27, 2015 at 11:15 am 0

5630 Wisconsin Avenue 5800 Kingswood Road 4721 River Road

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

  • 5225 Pooks Hill Road; 2 BD | 1 BA condominium; List price: $185,000; Sale price: $185,000
  • 6719 Hillandale Road; 1 BD | 1 BA condominium; List price: $329,000; Sale price: $324,000
  • 5225 Pooks Hill Road; 2 BD | 2 BA condominium; List price: $329,000; Sale price: $329,900
  • 7500 Woodmont Avenue; 1 BD | 1 BA condominium; List price: $429,900; Sale price: $424,000
  • 4986 Sentinel Drive; 2 BD | 2 BA condominium; List price: $650,000; Sale price: $640,000
  • 9206 Topeka Street; 4 BD | 2 BA single family detached; List price: $725,000; Sale price: $725,000
  • 8605 Melwood Road; 3 BD | 2 BA single family detached; List price: $724,900; Sale price: $725,000
  • 5804 Madison Street; 3 BD | 3 BA single family detached; List price: $750,000; Sale price: $760,000
  • 5619 Wood Way; 2 BD | 2 BA single family detached; List price: $820,000; Sale price: $823,000
  • 6116 Overlea Road; 3 BD | 3 BA single family detached; List price: $899,500; Sale price: $940,000
  • 9014 Old Georgetown Road; 4 BD | 5 BA single family detached; List price: $998,500; Sale price: $940,000
  • 6114 Goldtree Way; 4 BD | 5 BA single family detached; List price: $1,050,000; Sale price: $1,000,000
  • 4721 River Road; 5 BD | 3 BA single family detached; List price: $1,099,000; Sale price: $1,055,000
  • 5800 Kingswood Road; 6 BD | 6 BA single family detached; List price: $1,400,000; Sale price: $1,400,000
  • 5205 Oakland Road; 4 BD | 5 BA single family detached; List price: $2,150,000; Sale price: $1,995,000
  • 5630 Wisconsin Avenue; 2 BD | 4 BA condominium; List price: $3,900,000; Sale price: $3,800,000

Photos via MRIS

9014 Old Geogetown Roadd 6719 Hillandale Road 6116 Overlea Road

by Aaron Kraut — April 27, 2015 at 10:00 am 218 9 Comments

Would cheaper parking rates encourage you to park a little bit farther from your downtown Bethesda destination?

It looks like we’re about to find out.

A Council Committee on Friday gave its OK to a “demand parking” policy from the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. Under the new rate structure, the county could adjust parking rates on the fly in an attempt to get drivers to fill less crowded lots or garages.

Parking meters in a county garage in downtown BethesdaAl Roshdieh, acting director of MCDOT, cited the regularly-filled Bethesda Row garage (Garage 57) as the prime example of how the new rates might work.

The county hopes to raise the maximum hourly parking rate at its downtown Bethesda garages to $1 from .80 cents. That $1 maximum rate could be in play often at the Bethesda Row garage, one of the county’s busiest.

A few blocks over at the county’s brand new Capital Crescent Garage (the former Lot 31), the county could then set its hourly parking rate at 80 cents or even 60 cents in an effort to encourage longer-term parkers to park there.

Roshdieh said the county isn’t looking for a revenue bump from the demand parking system, but instead is trying to keep the spaces closer to downtown businesses open as often as possible for easy and quick access.

“If you bring it down to 60 cents and you see the garage is filling up, then you can adjust your prices,” Roshdieh told the Council’s Transportation Committee on Friday.

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by Aaron Kraut — April 27, 2015 at 9:00 am 150 0

Gertrude Marion Haugan, photo via Montgomery County Police

Update at 9:55 a.m. – Police say they have located Gertrude Marion Haugan safe and unharmed.

Original – Police are asking for help with finding an elderly Bethesda woman whose car was found on Sunday night not far from her home.

Detectives say Gertrude Marion Haugan, 95, was last seen on Wednesday, April 22.

On Sunday, cops found her 1996 Toyota Camry in an alley off of 7413 Maple Avenue, not far from her home in the 4700 block of South Chelsea Lane.

Police say family and friends are concerned about Haugan’s welfare “because it is unusual for Ms. Haugan not to have regular contact with friends and neighbors.”

She’s described as white, 5-foot-2 tall and weighing 110 pounds. It’s not known what type of clothing she was wearing at the time of her disappearance.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Haugan is asked to call Montgomery County Police at 301-279-8000.

Photo via Montgomery County Police

by Aaron Kraut — April 27, 2015 at 8:15 am 157 3 Comments

Town of Chevy ChaseThe Town of Chevy Chase could be out of a $130,000 payment from Montgomery County because it doesn’t have its own property tax.

Because of reserves reaching nearly $8 million, the Town of almost 3,000 people got rid of its property tax for FY 2014. Town officials had proposed keeping the property tax rate at zero again in FY 2016, expecting a $130,297 income tax reimbursement payment from Montgomery County.

The Town of Chevy Chase, like all incorporated towns and municipalities, draws “tax duplication payments” from the county for government services the Town provides that the county doesn’t have to.

But this year, apparently spurred by the president of the Montgomery County Taxpayers League, Council staff recommended against reimbursing the Town its $130,000 because it says the zero percent property tax rate means there is no duplicate tax.

“I’m truly a lover of municipalities,” said Councilmember Sidney Katz, the former mayor of Gaithersburg. “But I have to tell you, when you talk about tax duplication, there has to be a duplicated tax.”

Katz, Hans Riemer and Government Operations Committee Chair Nancy Navarro voted to get rid of the payment to the Town in a hearing last week.

In a memo before the hearing, Town of Chevy Chase Mayor Kathy Strom wrote that the move (after County Executive Isiah Leggett’s budget included the duplication payment) “threatens to wreak havoc on the Town’s Charter-mandated budgeting process.”

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by Aaron Kraut — April 24, 2015 at 2:30 pm 3 Comments

Westfield Montgomery is partnering with a national nonprofit that raises money for breast cancer prevention for a series of special events next week.

The mall (7101 Democracy Boulevard) and Bright Pink will host the 2nd annual VIPink Weekend, with ticket costs and donations going to support breast and ovarian health:

On Thursday, April 30 beginning at 6:30 p.m., Westfield Montgomery will host the VIPink Preview Party starting with a reception at Pink Central – a dedicated space in the lower level Nordstrom wing – where guests can learn about preventive measures against breast and ovarian cancer, while enjoying light food and beverages from CRAVE American Kitchen & Sushi Bar, MET Bethesda Lobster ME and Cleo’s Oil Bar. Immediately following the reception at 8:15 p.m., guests will enjoy an opening night movie screening of the blockbuster movie “Avengers: Age of Ultron” at ArcLight Cinemas. Tickets for the reception and event are $35 and all proceeds benefit Bright Pink.

Saturday, May 2 at 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.: Exclusive Zengo cycling classes hosted in partnership with lululemon athletica

Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3: Hair blowouts and make-up consultations in partnership with Eric Alexander Salon and Nordstrom

Sunday, May 3 between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.: A series of special yoga classes hosted in partnership with lululemon athletica

Each $10 event ticket purchased will mean automatic entry into an online sweepstakes contest featuring prizes from Under Armour, Nordstrom and a trip to London.

Video via WestfieldUS/YouTube

by Aaron Kraut — April 24, 2015 at 1:30 pm 460 3 Comments

Chevy Chase Fire Department 8001 Connecticut AvenueSomeone is calling locals and falsely claiming to collect donations for a local fire department.

A resident in Chevy Chase Village said she received a call Thursday night from someone claiming to be collecting money for the Chevy Chase Fire Department or “Chevy Chase Firefighters,” according to a neighborhood listserv.

Police in the Village and the Fire Department confirmed that it is a scam. The Fire Department doesn’t solicit donations by phone.

A sign board in front of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad also warns of phone scam attempts using the Rescue Squad’s name. The Rescue Squad also doesn’t solicit donations by phone.

Photo via Facebook

by Aaron Kraut — April 24, 2015 at 12:30 pm 0

Here are a few upcoming events from the BethesdaNow.com calendar.

If you’d like to see your event featured, email your submission to news[at]bethesdanow[dot]com. Also, please check out the event calendar to see all that is going on:

Today

unnamedVeterans Art Exhibition And Spoken Word Performance
Chevy Chase Cars 7725 Wisconsin Avenue
Time: 7 p.m. — 9 p.m.

Through writing and art workshops, participants narrate individual military experiences through original works of art to bridge the gap between the military and civilian communities.  The exhibition will feature the week’s artwork produced by approximately 20 United States veterans.

Saturday

Central Farm Market, via RealTimeFarms.comPike Central Farm Market Re-Opening
Pike Central Farm Market 5992 Executive Boulevard
Time: 9 a.m. — 1:30 p.m.

Pike Central Farm Market is re-opening for the season on Saturday, April 25 with over 40 vendors! Come out for music, food, fun, shopping and more!

Sunday

Washington ArtWorksWashington ArtWorks SPRING Open Studios Weekend
Washington ArtWorks 12276 Wilkins Avenue
Time: 10 a.m. — 5 p.m.

Washington ArtWorks opens its’ expansive visual arts facility and Resident Artist studios to the public for a full weekend of art shopping, music, and food trucks.

Featured both days will be hundreds of pieces of art including photography, painting, pottery and glass as well as artist demonstrations, local food trucks La Strada, Holy Crepes, and Carmen’s, and live music.

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by Aaron Kraut — April 24, 2015 at 11:05 am 978 0

Piazza Beer Garden at 7401 Woodmont Ave. (file photo)A downtown Bethesda beer garden is officially opening next week with the promise of free beer.

Piazza Beer Garden (7401 Woodmont Avenue) is hosting a season opening “Beer Bash” starting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28.

Beer enthusiasts will get a complimentary glass of Dominion Candi, a Belgian Trippel from Delaware-based brewery Old Dominion Brewing Company.

Piazza opened in fall 2013 on the patio part of Cesco Osteria. It will be open from 3 p.m.-10 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 3 p.m.-1 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, noon-10 p.m. on Sundays and closed on Mondays.

by Aaron Kraut — April 24, 2015 at 10:15 am 198 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:

9117 Burdette Road9117 Burdette Road
4 BD | 4 BA single family detached
James Coley, Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
Listed: $1,100,000
Open: Sunday, April 26 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

5161 King Charles Way5161 King Charles Way
2 BD | 2 full, 2 half BA townhouse
Robert Myers, Re/Max Realty Services
Listed: $550,000
Open: Sunday, April 26 from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

5308 Locust Avenue5308 Locust Avenue
4 BD | 4 BA single family detached
Jane Fairweather, Coldwell Banker Residential
Listed: $845,000
Open: Sunday, April 26 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

6209 Massachusetts Avenue6209 Massachusetts Avenue
3 BD | 2 BA single family detached
Howard Lerner, Stuart & Maury, Inc.
Listed: $789,900
Open: Sunday, April 26 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

by Aaron Kraut — April 24, 2015 at 9:00 am 543 1 Comment

Photo via Mike Landsman

Hogan: Purple Line Price Tag Needs ‘Mucho Reductions’ – Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday said the cost of the estimated $2.45 billion Purple Line project needs to be much-reduced in order for the state to move forward with it. “It’s not whether this is a worthwhile idea. It’s a question of whether the state can do it at this point in time,” said Hogan, who’s expected to make a decision in the next few weeks. [Washington Post]

Spa Coming To North Bethesda Market – Woodhouse Day Spa, a Texas-based chain, is coming to a 6,000-square-foot space at North Bethesda Market in the Pike District/White Flint. [Store Reporter]

Edwards, Van Hollen To Attend Candidates Forum – Rep. Donna Edwards and Rep. Chris Van Hollen are set to take part in a candidates forum on May 3 in Rockville. The two Democratic colleagues are both running for the Senate seat to be vacated by Barbara Mikulski. [Maryland NOW]

Council Committee Wants To Renovate Council Building – A Council Committee this week recommended adding $32 million to the capital budget to renovate the aging Council Office Building in Rockville. The suggestion of such a move in March caused a squabble with Board of Education President Patricia O’Neill, who said the Council should be more focused on the school system’s construction needs. [The Gazette]

Photo via Mike Landsman

by Aaron Kraut — April 23, 2015 at 3:05 pm 373 0

The latest 2nd District crime summary includes in incident in which a man was seen masturbating along busy Wisconsin Avenue:

An indecent exposure occurred at 7707 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda on 4/7 at 6:46 p.m. The subject was observed exposing himself and masturbating.

Suspect: Male, age unknown

A residential burglary occurred in the 5500 block of Western Avenue in Chevy Chase on 4/10. Forced entry; property taken.

Suspects: Two males, ages unknown

Two unrelated residential burglaries occurred in the following areas:

In the 4700 block of Merivale Road in Chevy Chase on 04/07. No forced entry; property taken.

In the 5800 block of Osceola Road in Bethesda between 04/07 and 04/09. Forced entry; property taken.

A commercial burglary occurred at the construction site located at 8300 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda between 3:30 p.m. on 4/9 and 7:00 a.m. on 4/10. Forced entry; property taken.

Eight thefts from vehicles occurred between 4/6 and 4/10 during the evening to early morning hours. Due to close proximity, the incidents appear to be related. Forced entry; property taken. Streets affected included Wyngate Drive, Walton Road, Rollins Drive and Ewing Drive.

Thefts from vehicles in the Wyngate neighborhood, via MCP

An attempted residential burglary occurred in the 100 block of Piney Meetinghouse Court in Potomac on 4/12 at 12:55 a.m. Two suspects unsuccessfully attempted to enter the residence. Both suspects were later arrested in the area.

Defendants: Two males, ages: both 21

by Aaron Kraut — April 23, 2015 at 2:05 pm 366 8 Comments

Some of the e-cigarette liquids for sale at Studio Vape on Cordell Avenue

The news on e-cigarettes used to come via two-page inserts in the cigar magazines delivered to Les Charapp’s Bethesda cigar shop.

These days, those inserts on the latest and greatest in the vaping industry come in the form of full-fledged booklets, complete with rankings of e-cigarette liquids akin to rankings of cigars in Cigar Aficionado.

Charapp, who has owned Signature Cigars at 4919 Cordell Avenue for 18 years, saw it might be time to expand his business.

Last week, Charapp opened Studio Vape next door to Signature Cigars with the goal to get into an industry where sales have exploded to $1.2 billion a year in the U.S. Vape, defined as the inhalation or exhalation of vapor from an electronic cigarette, was the Oxford English Dictionary 2014 word of the year.

It wasn’t until about two years ago that vape shops began popping up. Now there are an estimated 8,500 nationwide with at least three within the few blocks of Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle neighborhood.

“So here I am with a brand new business in a brand new industry for me,” Charapp said. “They have studies showing the thing is going to grow to a $1.7 billion industry from $700 million in a few years.”

Charapp chose his location for Studio Vape over others in Rockville and D.C. because it’s close to bars and restaurants like Caddies on Cordell, Union Jack’s and others. It also helps that his old business is next door.

Studio Vape is in a former frame shop with an entrance set back from Signature. The stores share the same address.

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by Aaron Kraut — April 23, 2015 at 12:30 pm 169 0

Photo via Bethesda Urban Partnership

The 12th annual Bethesda Fine Arts Festival is set to take over Woodmont Triangle on Saturday, May 9 and Sunday, May 10.

The festival, featuring more than 120 artists from across the country, will happen rain or shine on Norfolk Avenue and Auburn Avenue.

Booths will be set up and open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on May 9 and from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on May 10.

There will also be live entertainment, children’s activities and food from Bethesda Curry Kitchen, Smoke BBQ, Hard Times Cafe and others.

Photo via Bethesda Urban Partnership

by Aaron Kraut — April 23, 2015 at 11:30 am 909 19 Comments

Traffic near the intersection of Cedar Lane and Rockville Pike, Flickr photo by thisisbossi

Councilmember Roger Berliner says Montgomery County should change the way it evaluates traffic when it comes to new development.

Berliner said the county’s focus on how quickly vehicles get through an intersection leads only to wider roads and larger intersections, instead of what he described as more progressive options for decreasing commute times and getting people living closer to where they work.

In a letter to Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson, Berliner said he hopes planners can incorporate new traffic tests into their update of the county’s Subdivision Staging Policy.

The policy, which planners will begin working on this year, sets traffic standards for areas throughout the county.

For example, planners working on a new master plan for the Westbard section of Bethesda say any new development can’t lead to a Critical Lane Volume mark surpassing 1,600. Critical Lane Volume (CLV) measures rush hour congestion at the point where the most vehicles pass through an intersection.

“And by testing levels of service and critical lane volumes, we in turn then focus on changes to our roadways that create wider roads and larger intersections,” Berliner wrote.

He said he would like the county to adopt a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) standard. California made the change last year.

Streetsblog, a news website about “sustainable transportation and livable communities,” described it this way:

In short, instead of measuring whether or not a project makes it less convenient to drive, it will now measure whether or not a project contributes to other state goals, like reducing greenhouse gas emissions, developing multimodal transportation, preserving open spaces, and promoting diverse land uses and infill development.

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