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by Aaron Kraut — May 5, 2015 at 4:30 pm 341 14 Comments

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

That means starting Wednesday, 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 starting Wednesday.

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 BethesdaNow.com — May 5, 2015 at 12:15 pm 0

This biweekly column is written by Suzanne Lawter, Director of Community Outreach for Mutts Matter Rescue, a local nonprofit, all-volunteer dog rescue. Mutts Matter is a network of volunteers who love animals and want to make a difference by helping forgotten and discarded dogs find loving families. Since our founding in 2010, we have successfully rescued and placed more than 1,400 dogs in the local Washington Metropolitan area.

In March we featured Sadie, a sweet young Pointer mix who was rescued from a puppy mill. Sadie was found chained outside in the heat of summer, fighting to survive with her three puppies. She had dug a hole in the ground to protect them from the elements, but was malnourished and had very limited ability to provide for them.

Mutts Matter Rescue bannerSadie lived the first three years of her life in fear. She was neglected and abused, and had completely shut down when she came into rescue, preferring to hide curled up in a corner to avoid whatever terrible thing life was going to throw at her next. Over the following six months, Sadie had two foster families who showed her the first kindness she had ever known. She slowly started to trust her foster moms, and found some solace with the other dogs in her home, but her progress was very slow and she refused to engage with the outside world.

We brought in an experienced trainer, Mark Reed of Exceptional Dog Training, to assess Sadie and help with her rehabilitation. She was one of the most withdrawn dogs he had worked with, but he noticed right away that she made good eye contact with people even though she was nervous, and her resistance was more out of stubbornness than fear.

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by Aaron Kraut — May 5, 2015 at 9:00 am 811 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 329 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 9:00 am 657 2 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.

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by Aaron Kraut — May 4, 2015 at 8:00 am 220 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

WWBG: Canned Applause

by BethesdaNow.com Sponsor — May 1, 2015 at 12:15 pm 0

WWBG

Editor’s Note: This column is sponsored by Georgetown Square Wine and Beer (10400 Old Georgetown Road) and Downtown Crown Wine and Beer (303 Copley Place, Gaithersburg).

This column was written by Garrett Cruce, certified beer server in the Cicerone Certification Program. Follow his beer travels on Instagram.

Is there a sound of summer more satisfying than the crack of opening an aluminum can? In one percussive moment, it conjures memories of picnics, grilling or cooling off after mowing the lawn. It’s the container that requires no opener other than your own fingers.

Since 1933, when the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company began shipping their Krueger’s Finest Beer in cans, beer drinking just hasn’t been the same. Of course, those cans required a churchkey to punch holes in the top for drinking, but they heralded a new delivery system for beer.

Though consumers might still associate beer cans with mass-produced, light lagers, there has been a real craft beer movement brewing around the aluminum can.

Oskar Blues Brewery started the trend in 2002 with Dale’s Pale Ale, committing to be a bottle-free brewery. According to craftcans.com Cantastic Database of Canned Craft Beer, there are approximately 508 breweries canning beer in the United States today.

Aluminum has numerous benefits that make it a more attractive container for beer than glass. It effectively blocks out harmful light and air — the seal on a can is tighter than that of a bottle cap. Cans are lightweight and less costly to recycle than glass. And, the durability of aluminum means that breweries lose less beer to breakage in shipping. Not to mention that the can is immensely portable for the beer drinker, too.

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by Aaron Kraut — May 1, 2015 at 10:25 am 615 13 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.

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by Aaron Kraut — May 1, 2015 at 8:10 am 283 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

by Aaron Kraut — April 30, 2015 at 10:00 am 267 0

Image via Montgomery County Police

Police aren’t sure if three burglaries at nearby Woodmont Triangle businesses are related. Also, police haven’t found the second suspect in a series of bizarre arsons in one Bethesda neighborhood.

Those incidents and the rest of the most recent 2nd District crime summary follow:

Three commercial burglaries occurred in the following areas. It is unknown at this time if the incidents are related:

During the early morning hours of 4/20 at Concero located at 4915 St Elmo Avenue. Forced entry; property taken.

On 4/17 at 5:02 a.m. at Consider it Done located at 7806 Old Georgetown Road. Forced entry; nothing taken.

During the early morning hours of 4/17 at Buyers Edge located at 4849 Rugby Avenue. Forced entry; nothing taken.

Suspect: White male, age unknown

A residential burglary occurred on 4/17 between 8:10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the 3600 block of Thornapple Street. Forced entry; property taken.

An attempted residential burglary occurred in the 10600 block of Weymouth Street on 4/21 at 7:34 a.m. No entry gained; nothing taken.

A residential burglary occurred in the 4000 block of Merivale Road between 12:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on 4/13. No forced entry; property taken.

Residential burglaries/thefts from vehicles/arsons: Between the evening hours of 4/14 and the early morning hours of 4/15, in the 5400 block of Audubon Road. No forced entry; property taken. These incidents are related to six thefts from vehicles and three arsons that occurred during the same time period. Affected streets were Audubon Road, Marion Lane, Barrett Lane and Hampden Lane. The subject was later identified and arrested.

Arrested: Male, age 20

Patrol responded for an alarm at Walter Johnson High School on Sunday 4/19 at 9:37 p.m. The suspect was located inside the school and was arrested.

Arrested: Male, age 19

Image via Montgomery County Police

by Aaron Kraut — April 30, 2015 at 9:00 am 446 7 Comments

Proposed 2nd District Police Station for Rugby Avenue, via Montgomery County

County planners would like to see a more sophisticated look for the new 2nd District Police headquarters planned for Rugby Avenue.

On May 7, the Planning Board will review the county government’s plans for the new station, which it’s building in partnership with developer StonebridgeCarras.

The Board’s recommendations during the “mandatory referral” aren’t binding, but planning staff suggested using “brick and/or local Bethesda stone” on at least the front of the building.

The county is planning to use split-faced concrete and cinder blocks for the exterior facades of the four-story, roughly 65-foot tall structure to be built on a private parking lot at 4823 Rugby Avenue.

As the county and developer explained in February, the station would take over about 115 parking spaces in the adjacent Woodmont-Rugby Garage, a county-owned and operated parking facility.

There will be a new pedestrian pathway built on the east side of the new station connecting the garage and Rugby Avenue. The county has also said it will keep the existing pedestrian path on the west side of the site.

In exchange for building the new station and taking on the costs, the county agreed in 2013 to give StonebridgeCarras the site of the existing 2nd District station at 7359 Wisconsin Avenue so that it can be redeveloped as the Bethesda-based company sees fit.

The county for years had been looking for a private partner to help build a new station. The 7359 Wisconsin Avenue station is more than 50-years-old and short on space.

Officials hope to have construction start in the first quarter of 2016 and finished in the first quarter of 2017.

Via Montgomery County

by Aaron Kraut — April 30, 2015 at 8:00 am 274 1 Comment

Flickr photo by Payton Chung

Leggett To Council: No New Spending – County Executive Isiah Leggett on Wednesday held a rare breakfast meeting with County Council members in which he warned them against adding spending to his proposed FY 2016 budget. [Washington Post]

Council Spending List So Far – Various Council committees have come up with roughly $21 million in spending that could be added to Leggett’s $5 billion budget. The “reconciliation list” includes big increases for Montgomery College, more minor increases and some decreases. The Council is set to go through the list on May 14. [Montgomery Community Media]

Planners To Update Board On Westbard – Planners on Thursday will update the Planning Board on the latest concepts for Westbard. The Planning Department revealed those concepts last week in a public meeting. [Planning Board]

Bethesda-Based Company Hits Stock Exchange – Enviva, which manufactures wood pellets for electricity power generation, raised $200 million in its initial public offering on Wednesday. The company was founded in 2007 and owns five wood pellet production plants in the southeastern U.S. [Washington Business Journal]

Burger Joint Listed For Sale – The Westfield Montgomery mall location of Kraze Burgers is for sale, according to an online listing. The chain’s downtown Bethesda location went bankrupt and closed early last year. [Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row]

Flickr photo by Payton Chung

by Aaron Kraut — April 29, 2015 at 3:00 pm 505 32 Comments

MCPS busesA pilot program for busing private school students using public school buses and drivers likely won’t happen again next school year.

The County Council’s Transportation and Education Committees on Wednesday voted against a county executive recommendation to keep funding the program.

Montgomery County Public Schools’ move to push back its high school and middle school start times by 20 minutes starting in August means MCPS buses will very likely be unavailable for the program.

This school year, MCPS provided buses and drivers for students at six private schools around the county. It cost the county $240,000, with a $43,000 contribution from the private schools involved.

But without MCPS buses, county executive staff was working on a plan to use private charter bus operators, which carried a much higher cost.

County Executive Isiah Leggett recommended spending $659,973 to continue the program and expand it to a seventh school next school year.

All six members of the Council committees agreed that was too much.

“The game has now changed,” said Councilmember Craig Rice, referring to the bell times change from MCPS.

Instead, the committees agreed to provide $159,240 in funding for a consultant to continue tweaking and studying private school busing.

The alternate proposal “continues us in the game,” Rice said.

If approved in the final FY 2016 budget, it would mean saving half-a-million dollars from Leggett’s recommendation.

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by Aaron Kraut — April 29, 2015 at 1:00 pm 247 4 Comments

The Capital Crescent Garage

A Council committee last week moved to restore proposed funding cuts to the Bethesda Urban Partnership.

The Council’s three-member Transportation Committee voted to take $150,000 from the Bethesda Parking Lot District to cover the cuts in County Executive Isiah Leggett’s recommended budget for FY 2016.

The chair of the Partnership’s board of directors said the proposed $113,000 cut to core services would mean downtown Bethesda could go without holiday decorations, routine sidewalk repairs, sign maintenance and other BUP services over the next year.

The Council committee voted to take $150,000 from the Bethesda PLD to cover those core services and 2 percent wage adjustments for BUP employees.

The Bethesda PLD, meanwhile, still faces its own fiscal challenges.

The fund is used to pay for upkeep and operation of Bethesda’s public parking lots and garages and is dangerously close to being out of money, according to a Council report earlier this year.

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by Aaron Kraut — April 29, 2015 at 9:10 am 0

Photo via Mike Landsman

Third Candidate For Van Hollen’s Congressional Seat – Will Jawando, a Silver Spring resident and former aide in the Obama administration, will run for Chris Van Hollen’s 8th Congressional District seat. He joins Del. Kumar Barve and State Sen. Jamie Raskin as candidates who have officially announced. Jawando is an attorney who narrowly missed out on a District 20 House of Delegates seat last year. [Washington Post]

Leventhal Not Worried About Pesticide Bill – Council President George Leventhal says Council legal staff doesn’t think state law preempts his proposal to ban the use of non-essential pesticides. The state attorney general’s office said a major part of the bill might be preempted. [The Gazette]

MoCo’s Snow Tab Ran To $32 Million – Montgomery County spent about $32 million for snow and ice removal last winter, with 27 weather events and a total snow accumulation of almost 47 inches. [Bethesda Magazine]

Landon’s Azalea Festival Returns This Weekend – The Landon School’s annual Azalea Garden Festival is set for this weekend at the school (6101 Wilson Lane). The festival includes a plant sale, rides, games and other activities from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 1-3. [Landon School]

Photo via Mike Landsman

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