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by Aaron Kraut — November 21, 2014 at 1:55 pm 313 3 Comments

A meeting this week with members of Montgomery County’s delegation to Annapolis and MCPS officials exposed some friction when it comes to the school system’s recent request for $223 million in state school construction funding.

The Parents’ Coalition, which describes itself as a school system watchdog, posted video of a question and answer session with county delegates, state senators and MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr during the meeting on Tuesday morning.

District 15 Del. Kathleen Dumais had some stern words for Starr, claiming the school system’s public campaign for state school construction funding has put the delegation in a tough position considering the state’s overall budget deficit.

District 15 Del. Kathleen Dumais, photo via Wikimedia user 1msulax“I’m just saying, be realistic in your request,” Dumais told Starr. “Don’t set us up for failure. Work with us. We want to work with you. But you put us in this position and then say, ‘Ooops, you didn’t do it,’ and we’re getting the blame. That is not fair.”

She also criticized a school system press release from Nov. 17 that mentioned how last year’s push for state construction funding “fell through.”

“I read the press release and there’s like, something missing that is stark. What it doesn’t say, says a bill didn’t pass so you didn’t get any money, but that’s false,” Dumais said. “Montgomery County got $39 million in school construction money. You don’t mention that in your press release. That’s unfair.”

Starr responded by assuring Dumais that MCPS and the Board of Education are on the same page with the delegation. He also said Montgomery County legislators aren’t the only ones who face skepticism from officials elsewhere in the state.

He described a recent meeting of local school superintendents from around the state during which an unnamed official questioned Montgomery County’s need for the funds.

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by Aaron Kraut — November 21, 2014 at 12:25 pm 3,237 25 Comments

Photo via Roof, on Instagram

Roof Kitchen & Bar will close on Sunday, a little less than a year after opening in Woodmont Triangle.

Owner Alan Pohoryles confirmed the news on Friday.

“Unfortunately, the rumor is true,” Pohoryles wrote in an email. “We have a couple offers to buy the place and are working on a deal with them.”

Smashburger and Roof, at the corner of Cordell and Norfolk AvenuesPohoryles, the owner of the popular Tommy Joe’s bar and restaurant at 4714 Montgomery Lane, opened Roof on the second and third floors of a newly constructed building on Norfolk Avenue with the hopes of introducing a more high-end dining experience to Woodmont Triangle.

The rooftop bar became a popular hangout during the summer, but Pohoryles told Bethesda Magazine earlier this month that the inside second-floor dining room was hard to distinguish from the ground-floor Smashburger franchise.

So he changed the name to Roof Kitchen & Bar and altered the menu. This week, the restaurant added signage to the second floor windows of the building (7940 Norfolk Ave.).

But it didn’t make enough of a difference to keep the operation going.

“It has been a difficult decision to make,” Pohoryles wrote.

Top photo via Roof

by Aaron Kraut — November 21, 2014 at 11:25 am 383 0

Commercial burglaries at a high-end fashion retailer in Chevy Chase and a not so high-end fast food joint on Rockville Pike lead the most recent Bethesda area crime summary.

Also included is the Nov. 5 carjacking of a teenager in a Bethesda neighborhood. Police have not located the three suspects:

A commercial burglary occurred at the Louis Vuitton located in the 5400 block of Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase on Monday, 11/10 at 8:11 a.m. No forced entry; nothing taken.

A commercial burglary occurred at the Arby’s located at 11710 Rockville Pike in North Bethesda on Saturday, 11/8 between 1:00 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. Forced entry; property taken.

A carjacking occurred in the 7800 block of Hampden Lane in Bethesda on Wednesday, 11/5 at 7:00 p.m. The suspects threatened the victim with a weapon and obtained the vehicle.

Suspects: Black male, 5’11″-6’1″/130-140 lbs., wearing a ski mask; black male; unknown race male

Seven incidents of thefts from vehicles occurred at Virgilia Street and Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase on Monday, 11/10 at approximately 2:30 a.m. No signs of forced entry; arrests were made.

Arrested: Male, age 22, from Washington DC; male, of an unknown age, from Washington DC

An incident of theft occurred in the 4900 block of Cordell Avenue in Bethesda on Friday, 11/7 between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Property was unknowingly taken from the victim while shopping.

A theft from vehicle occurred at Grosvenor Lane & Fleming Avenue in Bethesda on Friday, 11/7 between 3:30 a.m. and 6:15 a.m. Unknown entry; property taken.

Arrested: Male, age 24, from Germantown

A strong-arm robbery occurred in the 5200 block of Westport Road in Chevy Chase on Friday, 11/7 at approximately 8:00 p.m. The suspects threatened the victim with a weapon and obtained property.

Suspect: Black male, 5’9″/180 lbs., black jacket; black male, 5’9″/170 lbs., black jacket 

Two commercial burglaries occurred at Euro Motorcars, 5206 River Road in Bethesda. The first incident occurred overnight between Tuesday, 11/4 and Wednesday, 11/5. No forced entry; property taken. The second occurred overnight between Thursday, 11/6 and Friday, 11/7. Forced entry; property taken

A strong-arm robbery occurred at Whittier Boulevard & Wilson Lane in Bethesda on Monday, 11/10 at approximately 4:30 p.m. The suspects assaulted the victim and obtained property.

Arrested: Male, age 18, from Bethesda 

A residential burglary occurred in the 9200 block of Fernwood Road in Bethesda on Tuesday, 11/11 between 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Forced entry; property taken.

A residential burglary occurred in the 9200 block of Beech Hill Drive in Bethesda on Tuesday, 11/11 between 9:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Forced entry; property taken.

by Aaron Kraut — November 21, 2014 at 10:30 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:

8306 Whittier Boulevard8306 Whittier Boulevard
5 BD | 4.5 BA single family detached
Carolyn Sappenfield, Re/Max Realty Services
Listed: $1,745,000
Open: Sunday, Nov. 23 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

24 Dudley Court24 Dudley Court
2 BD | 2.5 BA condominium
Sean Judge, Keller Williams Realty
Listed: $389,000
Open: Sunday, Nov. 23 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

4430 Chalfont Place4430 Chalfont Place
3 BD | 4 BA single family detached
Margot Wilson, Washington Fine Properties
Listed: $1,329,000
Open: Sunday, Nov. 23 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

9101 Kittery Lane9101 Kittery Lane
5 BD | 3 full, 2 half BA single family detached
John Pobiak, Maryland Home Realty
Listed: $1,199,000
Open: Sunday, Nov. 23 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

by Aaron Kraut — November 21, 2014 at 9:25 am 255 1 Comment

State Highway Administration (file photo)As part of a broader improvement project for Connecticut Avenue, the State Highway Administration is set to temporarily close one ramp connecting to the Beltway on Monday, Dec. 1.

Weather permitting, crews will close the ramp from the Outer Loop of the Capital Beltway to northbound Connecticut Avenue from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 1. Crews are resurfacing the roadway and putting in new traffic signals on the busy northbound and southbound ramps from the Beltway to Connecticut Avenue.

It’s part of an overall $3.7 million safety and resurfacing project for Connecticut Avenue from Dupont Avenue in Kensington to the Beltway in Chevy Chase. Almost 65,000 drivers use the section of Connecticut Avenue each day.

Work began on the project this summer and the SHA says all phases should be complete by fall 2015.

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by Aaron Kraut — November 21, 2014 at 8:55 am 291 0

Photo via rzultarzaba

Transit Advocates Pressing For Council To Pass Urban Road Code – The County Council is set to vote on a bill that would mean narrower roads, slower speed limits and more pedestrian bumpouts and bicycle lanes on newly designed county roads in urban areas of the county such as White Flint and Bethesda. [Action Committee For Transit]

MoCo Democratic Chairman Offers To Resign – Kevin Walling, the Bethesda resident who took over as the chairman of the county’s Democratic Party organization four months ago, offered his resignation Sunday. Walling was facing criticism over the Central Committee’s sample ballots, many of which included misprinted information to the detriment of both Republican and Democratic candidates in this month’s election. [Bethesda Magazine]

Better Than Black Friday? – URBNMarket, the market of vintage and handmade crafts from local vendors, will return for its holiday market on Sunday, Dec. 7 at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad (5020 Battery Lane) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. [URBNMarket]

More Than 1.1 Million Projected To Travel For Thanksgiving – Thanks to low gas prices, AAA is projecting more D.C. area residents will hit the road this Thanksgiving travel period than in any year since 2007. There’s also new data from the region’s Transportation Planning Board that suggests the Tuesday before Thanksgiving — not the Wednesday before — might now be the region’s most congested pre-Thanksgiving travel day. [Washington Post]

Free Lobster Rolls – To celebrate its grand opening, new Westfield Montgomery mall fast casual eatery Lobster ME is offering free lobster rolls from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday. [Lobster ME via Facebook]

Photo via rzultarzaba

by Aaron Kraut — November 20, 2014 at 3:35 pm 4,474 13 Comments

Clyde's Tower Oaks Lodge restaurant, via Facebook

The highest volume restaurant in Montgomery County was fined a total of $9,000 by the county on Thursday two weeks after admitting to a slew of alcohol violations related to a half-price wine special.

The county’s Board of License Commissioners agreed to fine Clyde’s Tower Oaks Lodge $5,000, plus $2,000 for the restaurant’s alcohol sales to minors and $2,000 for failing to make certain records available on the night of Aug. 11.

On that night, a group of Montgomery County Police officers and Department of Liquor Control officials went into the restaurant (2 Preserve Parkway) to investigate reports from the community of overservice and service to underage patrons.

Police said they had received the reports of fights in the parking lot in relation to the restaurant’s Monday night half-price wine special. The restaurant’s manager said two weeks ago that he saw an increasing amount of issues on Monday nights over the summer.

Two officers in street clothes and a DLC inspector witnessed numerous customers who appeared underage with alcohol. One DLC inspector took photos of a patron roaming around the restaurant with a pitcher of beer and of an off-duty employee, who cops said blew a .231 on a portable breathalyzer test.

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by Aaron Kraut — November 20, 2014 at 2:35 pm 263 0

The Bethesda Row City Sports, Flickr photo by ehpien

The next retailer to open at Pike & Rose in White Flint/North Bethesda will be City Sports, the Boston-based sporting goods chain that is set to kick things off Saturday.

The store will be known as City Sports Rockville, which makes for another interesting tidbit in the ongoing debate over what to call the area around the White Flint Metro station.

It will be the retailer’s sixth D.C. area store and second in the Bethesda area. City Sports has a previous relationship with Pike & Rose developer Federal Realty. It has its Bethesda store at Federal’s Bethesda Row (7121 Arlington Rd.).

The Pike & Rose location (11600 Old Georgetown Rd.) will open Saturday at 9 a.m. The first 100 customers will get a free City Sports backpack with gifts valued at more than $75.

Also in attendance will be folks from radio station HOT 99.5, who will be giving away tickets to their Jingle Ball from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

City Sports will raffle off prizes including free shoes for a year, shopping sprees and Baltimore Ravens tickets, plus they’ll be refreshments and an Under Armour-sponsored photobooth.

Flickr photo by ehpien

by Aaron Kraut — November 20, 2014 at 1:50 pm 566 12 Comments

Blair Lee IV, photo via The GazetteSome Montgomery County Democrats aren’t too happy with Governor-elect Larry Hogan’s selection of an outspoken local conservative to be part of his transition team.

The Montgomery County Young Democrats on Wednesday called on Hogan to remove Blair Lee IV — the Silver Spring developer and The Gazette columnist — from his newly-minted position.

Lee IV is the son of Blair Lee III, a former secretary of state, lieutenant governor and acting governor of Maryland. The Lee family played a major role in the founding of Montgomery County. Two of the family’s ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence.

Lee IV is chairman of the board of the Lee Development Group and often shares his political musings on WBAL Radio.

The Young Democrats say he’s also “firmly embedded in right-wing policy and corporate politics,” and has expressed “extreme homophobic views that do not view all Marylanders as equal.”

The group based that assertion on Lee’s opposition of the state’s 2012 same-sex marriage referendum. In an interview with the Washington Blade this week, Lee said he still holds the opinion that gay sex is a sin.

“Governor-elect Hogan is packing his transition team with consultants, legislators, and policy makers who are against the progress that Maryland has made over the past four years,” read a press release from the Young Democrats. “In fact, voters affirmed much of this progress at the polls when the civil right to marriage equality and sensible, compassionate policies toward immigrant children in our state passed in 2012. His appointments set a disturbing tone for the future of our state in the next four years.”

The group also went after Lee and Hogan’s other transition team members for supporting the elimination of the state’s corporate tax and their opposition to repealing the death penalty and raising the minimum wage.

Photo via The Gazette

by Aaron Kraut — November 20, 2014 at 12:35 pm 307 3 Comments

Positano Ristorante on Fairmont AvenueFor those looking to make Thanksgiving plans out of the house next Thursday, a number of local restaurants have you covered:

Brasserie Monte Carlo (7929 Norfolk Ave.) — Offering a three-course menu, with main dish options of sea bass, turkey, duck, beef medallions, a vegetarian option for $35, plus a $15 children’s option. Reservations are required in advance. Open from 12:00 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Clydes of Chevy Chase (5441 Wisconsin Ave.) – A traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings, $25.95 per adult, $15.95 per child.

La Ferme (7101 Brookville Rd.) — Will be serving a traditional three-course Thanksgiving menu from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for $48 per person.

LIA’s (4435 Willard Ave.) — Three-course special menu featuring Maple Orange Glazed Turkey for $39. Open from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Morton’s The Steakhouse (7400 Wisconsin Ave.) — Open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Positano Ristorante (4948-4940 Fairmont Ave.) — Annual Thanksgiving feast with dark or white turkey meat, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, string beans, bread and choice of pumpkin pie or apple pie for $25. Open 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. with regular menu available all day.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House (7315 Wisconsin Ave.) — Three-course dinner with oven-roasted turkey breast and sweet potato casserole, priced at $39.95 for adults and $12.95 for children.

Seasons 52 (11414 Rockville Pike) — Traditional Thanksgiving dinner and mini pumpkin pie for $26.95 per adult and $12.95 per child. Full dinner menu will also be available from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Know of any local restaurants that will be open on Thanksgiving? Let us know in the comments or at news@bethesdanow.com.

by Aaron Kraut — November 20, 2014 at 11:15 am 221 2 Comments

Peripoint Building from Old Georgetown Road, via StreetSense

A Bethesda artist is taking advantage of a vacant ground-floor space with a pop-up gallery just in time for the holiday season.

Elyse Harrison, who runs the art education-focused Studio Neptune upstairs at Bethesda’s Peripoint Building, will open AVIARY by Elyse Harrison from Dec. 4-Dec. 24.

The recent closing of Danish television and electronics company Bang & Olufsen has left the ground-floor retail space open in one of Bethesda’s most architecturally significant and noticeable structures (5001 Wilson Lane).

"The City is a Balancing Act," one of the works that will be for sale at AVIARY by Elyse Harrison, via Elyse HarrisonHarrison is getting set to launch a website along with the pop-up gallery, which will feature a variety of her works all for less than $500. She’s also set up a Facebook page with one post showing work on a 8-foot by 8-foot “big bird” piece.

“We see it as a golden moment. December is a great time to promote art,” Harrison said.

Harrison’s husband, architect Michael Belisle, designed the Peripoint Building — which was transformed into the three-story, triangular structure that’s hard to miss at the busy intersection of Old Georgetown Road, Wilson Lane, Arlington Road and St Elmo Avenue.

When the building opened in 2008, Harrison had Studio Neptune and Gallery Neptune on the building’s second floor. The gallery space has since been taken over by Bethesda Fine Art.

Once it became clear Bang & Olufsen was moving out, Harrison thought about the idea of a pop-up studio tied with the debut of the new AVIARY website.

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by Aaron Kraut — November 20, 2014 at 10:00 am 538 0

Inside of MET Bethesda, opening next week at Westfield Montgomery, via MET Bethesda

The first of the full-service restaurants coming to Westfield Montgomery mall’s reworked food court will open next week.

MET Bethesda, the upscale restaurant with a changing seasonal menu, is set to open on the second floor of the mall’s new Dining Terrace and directly across from the entrance to ArcLight Cinemas.

The concept comes out of Boston-based Met Restaurant Group, which has four other restaurants from owner Kathy Sidell. The 120-seat dining room with a 40-seat bar described itself as a “metropolitan kitchen and bar” with American dishes mostly cooked over an open wood-fired grill.

That means Whole Branzino with lemon grass, garlic kale and sambal asum, baby back ribs with grilled pineapple and an entire selection of “Char Bar” items described as “American Yakitori” — marinated, skewered and grilled beef, pork, chicken, seafood and vegetables for sharing.

Below MET Bethesda will go Naples 45 Ristorante e Pizzeria, a New York City-based full-service Neapolitan pizzeria and Italian restaurant.

The renovation and rebranding of the Dining Terrace is part of Westfield’s $90 million infusion into the Bethesda mall. MET Bethesda’s press release is sure to describe the mall as “upscale.”

The restaurant will also have a 24-seat private dining room and a full bar program with a martini menu and special cocktails. General Manager Patrick Desotelle has worked at D.C. hotspots Le Diplomate and Zaytinya.

It will be open from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. on Sunday. The bar will remain open until 11 p.m. during the week and midnight on the weekend.

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by Aaron Kraut — November 20, 2014 at 9:00 am 339 1 Comment

New White Flint Post Office location on Nicholson Lane

The relocated White Flint Post Office that was supposed to open in July is set to finally open Monday, according to the Postal Service.

D.C. area spokesperson Laura Dvorak said the new location (5056-B Nicholson Lane) will open at 9 a.m. on Monday.

It will be the first time the White Flint Post Office has been open since April, when the USPS closed its location in White Flint Mall earlier than it had previously announced.

The Postal Service’s lease at the Mall was up in May and with redevelopment of the mall planned, it started looking for a new nearby location last year.

The Kensington Post Office temporarily took over the White Flint location’s P.O. box service.

by Aaron Kraut — November 20, 2014 at 8:00 am 1,001 2 Comments

Bradley Shopping Center, via rzultarzaba

Giant Pharmacist Accused Of Stealing Painkillers From Own Pharmacy – Parvin Ossareh, 51, of Bethesda has been charged with the theft of more than 7,300 tablets of the painkiller Hydrocodone from the Giant Food pharmacy he worked in. Police say Ossareh first started stealing the pills in July 2013 from the Giant Food at Georgetown Square Shopping Center. It continued until June 2014, when management confronted Ossareh about fraudulent transactions in the pharmacy’s records. [ABC7]

Upscale Bethesda Restaurant Switching To Barbecue – Newton’s Table (4917 Elm St.) is switching from pricey white tablecloth to barbecue starting in 2015. Newton’s Table owner Dennis Friedman will change the name of the restaurant to Bethesda Barbeque Company and work with a high school friend who started a barbecue company in North Carolina. [Bethesda Magazine]

MCPS Posts Part-Time Athletic Trainers At Each High School – For the first time, MCPS has put part-time athletic trainers at each of the system’s 25 high schools, allowing the professionals to diagnose injuries and offer advice to prevent injuries across all sports. Last year, just seven schools were assigned a full-time trainer and two additional trainers split time between 11 other schools. [The Gazette]

Deadline For Bus Rapid Transit Committees Is Friday – Friday is the deadline for nominations to the county’s new Rapid Transit System Corridor Advisory Committees. Self nominations can be sent in by email, but be sure to read up on the way the county hopes to structure each committee. There will be an Advisory Committee to help with the planning of the 355 South Corridor, which would run from south of the Rockville Metro station all the way to the Bethesda Metro station. [Montgomery County]

Photo via rzultarzaba

by Aaron Kraut — November 19, 2014 at 4:15 pm 239 0

A traffic stop in Bethesda (file photo)

Montgomery County Police will begin their Alcohol Holiday Task Force on Wednesday night, an effort that will include sobriety checkpoints and surveillance of stores that sell alcohol.

Officers from the county’s Alcohol Initiatives Section will be leading the task force, which will run until Jan. 10 and include five focus areas:

  • •Enforcement of traffic laws in areas known for a high number of alcohol-related tragedies with the goal of getting drunk or drug-impaired drivers off the road.
  • Compliance checks of businesses who hold alcohol licenses by using underage volunteers to attempt to purchase alcohol at establishments (ensuring that shopkeepers are careful not to sell alcohol to minors).
  • Surveillance by officers in plain clothes of local businesses who sell alcohol  (ensuring that shopkeepers are not selling alcohol to minors and also ensuring that minors are not using false identification or using other means to buy alcohol).
  • Responding to calls for underage drinking parties.  All attendees are screened for alcohol usage, and those who are under age 21 are issued citations. Every person is then ensured a safe ride home.  Parents of juveniles are notified to come and get them. Any parent or other adult who hosts can also be held liable and can be issued a citation.
  • Sobriety checkpoints: The location of the checkpoints is based on accident and traffic data focusing on areas drivers are most at risk for encountering impaired drivers.

County police will team up with officers from the Park Police Department, Maryland State Police and departments in Gaithersburg City and Takoma Park.

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