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by BethesdaNow.com — October 24, 2014 at 6:00 pm 1 Comment

MCFRS (file photo)A worker was reportedly impaled on a steel rod after a fall at a construction site on the 8800 block of Ridge Road in Bethesda.

Medics are working to stabilize the patient, who will be flown to the hospital via Maryland State Police medevac helicopter, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Pete Piringer.

A landing zone is being set up at Bradley Hills Elementary School.

Ridge Road is closed to traffic as a result of the incident.

File photo

by Aaron Kraut — October 24, 2014 at 2:15 pm 0

Planning Department map shows what property owners have talked to planners during the Bethesda Downtown Plan process

A new map put together by county planners gives details about redevelopment goals of some downtown property owners.

The map shows which properties have been discussed by developer, property owners and planners working on the downtown Bethesda master plan.

In some cases, it goes into further detail than shown in a publicly available list of meetings planners have taken.

One example is the set of retail properties at 7121 Wisconsin Ave., just south south of the Bethesda Farm Women’s Market. Planners say property owner Bernstein Management wants to “construct a mixed use, predominately high rise multi-family residential, building on the site.”

The project would include the public parking lot behind the property — the same one Town of Chevy Chase officials hope will remain low density to act as a buffer zone between Bethesda and their community.

According to the map and an accompanying PDF of Bernstein Management’s potential project, that county parking lot would be moved underground to make way for the development:

The owner desires to incorporate the public parking lot into the project ultimately, by purchasing the parking lot’s air rights from the County, placing the public parking below grade, and building multi-family and townhouse residences on the current surface parking lot along with green areas and public use spaces. The owner also desires to create a “through block” connection from Wisconsin Avenue through the site to tie in the Farm Women’s Market and the Elm Street Park with compatible street level convenience retail shops.

In most other locations, the map provides much less detail.

At Union Hardware (7800 Wisconsin Ave.) planners say co-owner David Goldberg is “in discussion with others re coordinated development of the block,” for a “legacy arts center with open space.”

In June, Goldberg described the idea as a black box theater, dance studio, artist work space and pedestrian plaza under residential units. Major development company JBG has showed interest in the project.

Also revealed on the map are plans from the American Gastroenterological Association, which is “discussing room for possible expansion and or modernization” of its national headquarters at 4926 and 4930 Del Ray Ave. Those discussions, according to planners, have focused on provisions for more height and density on the site.

Via Montgomery County Planning Department

by Aaron Kraut — October 24, 2014 at 11:00 am 0

National Institutes of HealthNIH says Nina Pham, the Ebola-stricken nurse who came to the Bethesda facility last week, is now free of the virus and will be discharged.

Top NIH officials, including NIH Director Francis Collins and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will hold a press conference at 11:30 a.m. in front of the agency’s Clinical Center.

A live stream of the press conference can be viewed here.

Pham, one of two nurses who contracted Ebola in a Dallas hospital while treating a patient there, was moved to a special isolation unit at the Clinical Center last Thursday. 

On Tuesday, NIH announced Pham had been upgraded from “fair” to “good” condition. The Bethesda-based agency also announced this week that it will begin human testing on a second potential vaccine for the virus, which has caused the deaths of about 5,000 people in west Africa.

by Aaron Kraut — October 24, 2014 at 10:00 am 0

Wall Local Park, with the Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center and a 250-spot parking lot, via Montgomery ParksThe long-term plan for Wall Park is an expansive green space that would serve as the central gathering and recreation spot for a redeveloping White Flint.

But that plan (no specific timetable has been given) is dependent on a new street grid, funding in the county budget and a yet to be finalized agreement to share a parking garage proposed by the developer next door.

For now, Councilmember Roger Berliner says he’d like to see the existing 12 acres of the park (4901 Nicholson Lane) put to better use — at least until White Flint and the park are more fully developed.

“There certainly must be low-cost, low-impact options that could help bring this park to life during the interim period — options that would not preclude approval of a final design that, of course, will be developed in conjunction with the community,” Berliner wrote in a letter sent this week to Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson and Montgomery Parks Director Mike Riley.

The park now has a small playground, picnic area and multi-use field, but most know the immediate area for the 250-space parking lot that serves the adjacent Shriver Aquatic Center.

The idea is to transform the parking lot into a great lawn that could host programming and serve as an important civic space. A recreation center would be added to go along with the Aquatic Center, which backs up to the planned Gables Residential apartment development.

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by Aaron Kraut — October 24, 2014 at 9:00 am 0

Flickr photo by Kevin Koltz

Post Endorses Bethesda Republican – The Washington Post’s editorial board on Wednesday endorsed a few Republicans in Montgomery County state legislative races, “mindful of the imbalance in the State House and frustrated at the scarcity of credible Republican candidates.” Montgomery County’s delegation has been entirely made up of Democrats for the past four years. The Post endorsed Bethesda Republican Rose Li for one of three House of Delegates seats in District 16, as well as Democrats Bill Frick and Marc Korman. Left out was Democratic incumbent Ariana Kelly, though the editorial board gave no mention of Kelly in its endorsements. [Washington Post]

National Republican Group Gets In On Maryland Governor Race – The Republican Governors Association on Thursday released an ad in support of Republican Larry Hogan, who polls say is trailing Democratic nominee Anthony Brown by single digits. [YouTube]

Booritos At Chipotle This Halloween – Fast casual burrito chain Chipotle is selling $3 burritos, tacos, salads and other items to customers who come in dressed in a costume on Halloween, from 5 p.m. on. The proceeds will go toward the chain’s foundation. [Chipotle]

B-CC Hosts Nobel Prize Winners – See video from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, where on Wednesday two Nobel Prize winners spoke at an assembly sponsored by the school’s Scandinavian Club. [MCPS]

Flickr photo by Kevin Koltz

by Aaron Kraut — October 23, 2014 at 3:05 pm 245 0

The latest weekly crime summary includes an armed robbery along Tuckerman Lane:

An armed robbery occurred in the 6000 block of Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda on Thursday, 10/9 at 10:30 p.m. The suspect threatened the victims with a weapon and obtained property.

Suspect: black male, 6′, thin build; dreadlocks & Bob Marley-style rainbow hat. 

A theft occurred in the 5500 block of Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase Village on Thursday, 10/9 at 1:00 p.m. Property was taken from the victim.

A commercial burglary occurred at Monument Parking, 6933 Arlington Road in Bethesda overnight between Monday, 10/13 and Tuesday, 10/14. Forced entry; property taken.

Eight thefts from vehicles occurred during this reporting period overnight between Monday, 10/6 and Tuesday, 10/7 along Thornwood Road, Everett Street and Woodfield Road in Kensington. No forced entry; small items inside were taken.

A residential burglary occurred in the 4800 block of Oxbow Road in Rockville on Wednesday, 10/8 between 2:50 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. No forced entry; property taken.

A residential burglary occurred in the 5600 block of Chesterbrook Road in Bethesda sometime between Wednesday, 10/8 and Friday, 10/10. Property was taken from an unsecured garage.

Four thefts from vehicles occurred this week during overnight hours on Hounds Way, Tilden Lane and Old Club Road in Rockville. No signs of forced entry.

Two thefts from vehicles occurred in the 10200 block of Windsor View Drive in Rockville on Monday, 10/13 at approximately 10:15 p.m. Nothing taken.

by Aaron Kraut — October 23, 2014 at 2:05 pm 602 0

Kathleen Harrington, Photo via MCPMontgomery County Police say they’re concerned about a missing Bethesda woman who was last seen two weeks ago.

Kathleen Harrington, 56, was last seen on Oct. 8 in Rockville, police said Thursday.

Police and Harrington’s family are concerned for her physical and mental well-being, according to a police press release.

Harrington is described as a white woman, 5-foot-7 tall and about 190 pounds. Police don’t know what type of clothing Harrington might be wearing.

Anyone with information about Harrington’s whereabouts should contact the police department’s 24-hour line at 301-279-8000.

Photo via MCP

by Aaron Kraut — October 23, 2014 at 1:30 pm 263 0

With a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony set for Tuesday, Suburban Hospital has released some new renderings from its expansion plans.

The estimated $225 million expansion will include a new garage and surface parking lot, plus a new clinical center too add capacity and improve traffic flow at the 70-year-old facility on Old Georgetown Road:

When completed, the 300,000-square-foot enhancement will feature a sustainable green design built around the needs of the patients. All new patient rooms will be private for greater comfort and improved infection control and designed around the patient and family. Also featured are up-to-date operating rooms that are sized and designed to accommodate innovations in surgical care technology, such as MRI and robotics, while maintaining flexibility for the future. In addition to providing a unified campus with a new main entrance and lobby separate from the emergency and trauma entrance and helipad at the existing hospital building, the footprint will include landscaped gardens and other spaces for healing and respite. It also will include medical office space for specialty physicians.

The hospital bought homes along neighboring Lincoln Street to make way for the new facility. A zoning approval by the county’s Board of Appeals led to a years-long legal fight from the Huntington Terrace Citizens Association, which argued the abandonment of Lincoln Street and the new garage will lead to more noise and traffic.

The project is being funded with hospital reserves, tax-exempt bonds and private donations. Fundraising is ongoing.

Last year, Suburban got $2.5 million for a new emergency room from the foundation of Bethesda philanthropists Sondra and Howard Bender. On Tuesday, the hospital will hold a special ceremony dedicating the emergency/trauma center from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., just before the groundbreaking ceremony.

The new parking garage part of the expansion project is set to open in 2017 and the new building is set to open in the fall of 2019 to coincide with the hospital’s 75th anniversary.

Photos via Suburban Hospital

by Aaron Kraut — October 23, 2014 at 12:30 pm 0

A Bethesda company that analyzes energy costs recently added a pretty famous new property to its portfolio.

Savenia Labs, the Bethesda Green business incubator company, hooked up with the U.S. Department of Energy to rate the solar panel system installed earlier this year on top of the White House.

Savenia’s home ratings calculate the value of energy-saving appliances, lighting and other improvements before someone buys or sells a home. Most of Savenia’s ratings so far have come locally, thanks to a partnership with Bethesda realtor Jane Fairweather and Bethesda homebuilder Sandy Spring Builders.

Gold Solar Rating from Savenia Labs for the White House, via Savenia LabsThe calculations are based on water, electricity and other utility rates in the home’s zip code. Home sellers or builders can enter the product model numbers for new water heaters or other appliances into Savenia’s database to see projected costs. Savenia then will provide a gold, silver or bronze home rating and details on environmental impacts and costs of proposed upgrades.

The White House installed a 6.3kW solar panel system on a portion of the building’s roof.

Per Savenia’s analysis, the system is valued at almost $27,000 and should earn up to another $43,000 over the next 15 years through energy production and renewable energy certificates.

That means 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue gets a Savenia Gold Rating “because of the high return on investment for someone looking to move into this house, whoever that might be in 2017.”

Video via the White House, photo via Savenia Labs

by Aaron Kraut — October 23, 2014 at 9:15 am 0

Flickr photo by William F. Yurasko

Developer Ready To Flip Former Air Rights Buildings – MRP Realty, the developer that bought the former Air Rights office buildings just two years ago, is already looking to sell. The D.C.-based company bought the office buildings and hotel complex for $205 million and promptly set about renovating and rebranding the place into “Bethesda Crossing.” Now, it’s hired Cassidy Turley to market the complex to buyers. [Washington Business Journal]

MCPS Fifth Grades Hit Strathmore – The annual MCPS fifth grade field trips to Strathmore are this week and the partners are celebrating the tenth year of the event with a new Blues program. [MCPS]

County Adds Stop Sign To Nebel Street – MCDOT has added a stop sign on Nebel Street at its intersection with Marinelli Drive, creating a three-way stop. Additional bicycle facilities are also said to be on the way. [Friends of White Flint]

Flickr photo by William F. Yurasko

by Aaron Kraut — October 23, 2014 at 7:38 am 1 Comment

An unfounded report of fire in the Metro Red Line tunnel closed the Bethesda station on Thursday morning for less than five minutes.

MCFRS units responded to the report of fire on the tracks between the Medical Center and Bethesda stations just before 7:30 a.m. and quickly found there was no fire and no smoke.

The tunnel has significant issues with water leaking onto the tracks and is a frequent location of arcing insulators, when water hits live Metro tracks and creates smoke or fire.

At 7:30 a.m., Metro said the Bethesda station would be temporarily closed to avoid overcrowding. The transit system has put that policy in place because of the ongoing large escalator replacement project which has only two of three escalators open.

Just four minutes later, Metro said the track problem had been “unfounded” and trains would no longer be single tracking.

MCFRS spokesperson Pete Piringer said there was no fire, no smoke and no emergency on the tracks despite the apparent “good intent” of the person who reported it.

by Aaron Kraut — October 22, 2014 at 3:25 pm 194 0

NIH Campus, BethesdaWhile a nurse being treated for Ebola at NIH has gotten most of the media attention, the Bethesda-based federal agency has also been busy working on potential vaccines for the virus.

On Wednesday, NIH announced human testing on a second investigational Ebola vaccine candidate is underway at its Clinical Center on its Rockville Pike campus.

Researchers from the agency’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases are testing the vaccine, called VSV-ZEBOV, for safety and its ability to create what’s called a “prime-boost” in a human’s immune system.

Early human testing of another investigational Ebola vaccine co-developed by NIAID and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) began in early September. Initial data on that vaccine candidate is expected by the end of 2014.

Phase 1 of the clinical trial for VSV-ZEBOV will include 39 healthy adults age 18 to 65. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of three groups. Ten participants in each group will receive the potential vaccine and three will receive a placebo.

Each of the three groups will receive a different dose of the possible vaccine as the trial goes on. Participants will get an injection of the possible vaccine or placebo at their first scheduled visit and again about a month later.

All will be evaluated by clinical staff 11 times over the next year:

VSV-Zebov is based in part on a genetically engineered version of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), which primarily affects rodents, cattle, swine and horses. Human VSV infections are rare and generally produce three to four days of mild illness. In the VSV-ZEBOV investigational vaccine, the gene for the outer protein of the vesicular stomatitis virus has been replaced with a segment of the gene for the outer protein of the Zaire Ebola virus species. The investigational VSV-ZEBOV vaccine cannot cause a vaccinated individual to become infected with Ebola.

(more…)

by Aaron Kraut — October 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm 269 3 Comments

Activity Building at Maplewood-Alta Vista Park in Bethesda, via Google Maps

A local youth dance academy is in line to take over a vacant building in a Bethesda park.

The Rock Creek Dance Academy, which now holds classes in three different Bethesda schools, is seeking to lease the park activity building at Maplewood-Alta Vista Park (5209 Alta Vista Rd.).

Montgomery Parks began a new push to find tenants for the buildings earlier this year.

According to the Parks Department, it evaluated the dance academy’s proposal based on the program’s business plan, ability to pay the rent and “overall approach to the adaptive reuse including compatibility with the community and park and overall benefit to the public.”

Parks will hold a public meeting during which Rock Creek Dance Academy will provide a more detailed presentation. The meeting, set for Dec. 3 at Maplewood-Alta Vista Park, will come before any final decision on the proposal.

Not all tenants for unused Parks buildings are met with approval from neighbors. Last month, a few neighbors near Lynbrook Park opposed a plan by the daycare leasing the building to build a small fence around the building. The daycare has since dropped the fence plans.

Image via Google Maps

by Aaron Kraut — October 22, 2014 at 9:20 am 182 0

Flickr photo by thisisbossi

Kensington Playground Likely Set Ablaze – MCFRS arson investigators are looking for information on a fire that destroyed the St. Paul Park playground in Kensington on Monday night. Investigators believe the fire was intentionally set. Firefighters arrived to the site at about 11 p.m. on Monday and found the playground equipment fully engulfed in flames. [Bethesda Magazine]

Construction Cam Time – The developer of “Element 28,” the 15-story, 120-unit apartment project coming to Old Georgetown Road and Commerce Lane, has installed a camera to keep tabs on construction progress at the site. The camera was placed on top of the county’s Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center building across the street. [EarthCam]

Gallery B November Exhibit – Bethesda Urban Partnership’s Gallery B (7700 Wisconsin Ave., Suite E) will host “Metalwork 2014″ for its November show starting on Nov. 1. The gallery will be open from noon-6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday with an opening reception from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 14. [Bethesda Arts & Entertainment]

Flickr photo by thisisbossi

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