WWBG: Canned Applause

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


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.


by Aaron Kraut — May 1, 2015 at 10:25 am 664 14 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.


by Aaron Kraut — May 1, 2015 at 9:15 am 197 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:

8912 Burdette Road 68912 Burdette Road 6*
4 BD | 4.5 BA single family detached
Jan Evans, Beasley Real Estate
Listed: $1,874,000
Open: Sunday, May 3 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

10203 Arizona Circle 310203 Arizona Circle 3
4 BD | 2 full, 2 half BA condominium
Jeanne Koerber, Re/Max Success
Listed: $599,000
Open: Sunday, May 3 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

8502 Bradmoor Drive8502 Bradmoor Drive
6 BD | 5.5 BA single family detached
Bradley Rozansky, Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
Listed: $1,925,000
Open: Sunday, May 3 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

6304 Bells Mill Road6304 Bells Mill Road
3 BD | 2 BA single family detached
Victoria Capone, Re/Max Realty Group
Listed: $600,000
Open: Saturday, May 2 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

*Denotes sponsored listing

by Aaron Kraut — May 1, 2015 at 8:10 am 287 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 1:25 pm 176 1 Comment

Graffiti along the Willett Branch

A local conservation group is hosting another tour of Westbard’s Willett Branch this weekend.

The Little Falls Watershed Alliance has been pushing county planners working on the Westbard Sector Plan to include improvements to the Willett Branch in their recommendations.

The stream runs through the Westbard area of Bethesda in a concrete channel prone to picking up trash and stormwater runoff from the surrounding businesses and industrial uses.

Last November, the group hosted a similar tour of the Willett Branch.

Daylighting,” or restoring the stream to its natural state, could be one of the biggest improvements planners will recommend when they finalize the sector plan this summer.

Planners have also discussed beefing up the green areas around the Willett Branch, something that could be required of any stream-adjacent property owners who wish to redevelop.

The Little Falls Watershed Alliance will start Saturday’s tour at 11 a.m. in the parking lot of Westwood Center II (5110 Ridgefield Road).

Those who wish to take the return leg of the tour back up the creek will need boots and flashlights.

by Aaron Kraut — April 30, 2015 at 12:00 pm 237 0

B-CC sophomore Eric Guerci will start as the Student Member of the Board in JulyA Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School student will be on the county’s Board of Education.

Sophomore Eric Guerci was elected Wednesday as the next Student Member of the Board of Education, or SMOB.

Guerci got 52 percent of votes from MCPS secondary school students. His opponent, Richard Montgomery High School junior Rachit Agarwal, got 48 percent of the votes.

As the SMOB, Guerci can vote on many items, though not boundary changes, the capital and operating budgets, teachers’ contracts, school closings and what MCPS referred to in a press release as “negative personnel matters.”

His predecessor, Clarksburg High School senior Dahlia Huh, did vote on key changes including the Board’s decision to move middle school and high school start times back by 20 minutes.

Guerci has been active in student government organizations and will start his one-year term on the Board on July 1.

by Aaron Kraut — April 30, 2015 at 11:05 am 283 1 Comment

Metro Red Line, Flickr photo by ChrisDag

As Metro has slowed down its search for a new general manager, local officials are asking the transit system’s board to consider a new way of dealing with financial problems, reliability issues and safety.

In March, Metro’s board suspended its search for a new general manager amid disagreements between board members and news that Metro hadn’t yet submitted the required paperwork to the federal government for $400 million in reimbursements for system upgrades.

Now, many are calling for the system’s new general manager to take charge of Metro’s apparent accounting issues in addition to improving service.

“The term ‘turnaround specialist’ has been used by some to describe what is needed and we agree that a different type of leader for the system is necessary,” wrote District 16 Del. Marc Korman and Prince George’s County Del. Erek Barron this week. “WMATA needs a leader who can walk and chew gum at the same time and who will be able to restore fiscal management while addressing the other major issues before the system — from safety to service.”

Korman, who represents Bethesda, and Barron started a WMATA-Metro Work Group in Annapolis during the legislative session with the goal of increasing and improving oversight of the transit system.

The two sent the letter on Tuesday to Metro Board Chair Mortimer Downey.

They asked Downey to pick a new general manager capable of picking experienced assistant general managers “not wedded to the status quo.”


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 454 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 280 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 514 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.


by Aaron Kraut — April 29, 2015 at 1:00 pm 249 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.


by Joseph Hawkins — April 29, 2015 at 11:45 am 263 0

Students at Walter Johnson High School on Monday, Photo via MCPS

My Two Cents is a weekly opinion column from Bethesda resident Joseph Hawkins. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BethesdaNow.com.

For the 2015-2016 school-year, Montgomery County Public Schools will move start times for its high schools and middle schools back 20 minutes. Finally, MCPS teens get more sleep.

Joseph HawkinsGetting that extra 20 minutes of sleep was not easy. It resulted from some serious organizing.

I was curious about how the organizing happened, and so last month I sat down with Ann Gallagher, one of the key people behind the local chapter of a group called Start School Later.

After we sat down, I sent Ann a list of questions via email, allowing her the opportunity to say more about the group and where it hopes to go after the 20-minute move. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Joseph Hawkins: Why did the Montgomery County start time effort link up with the existing national Start School Later effort?

Ann Gallagher: While putting together our symposium in March 2013 to offer community members the opportunity to ask and answer questions related to real world experiences in changing bell times, we discovered the wealth of information from across the U.S.. The national arm of Start School Later reached out to us in support.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, we became a chapter of the volunteer-driven nonprofit. We shared our resources and they provided us with ideas from other school systems. Our symposium featured the athletic director of a large school system, the dean of a high school, a transportation engineer specializing in bus routing, a sleep leader and analyst of the National Sleep Foundation’s teen sleep poll and the pediatrician-author of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ statement of recommendation on school start times to address teen sleep requirements.


by Aaron Kraut — April 29, 2015 at 10:45 am 1,267 0

Traffic on Rockville Pike just outside of Naval Support Activity-Bethesda and the Walter Reed National Military Medical CenterExpect traffic delays on Wednesday afternoon in Bethesda as President Barack Obama visits the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Obama is set to arrive at Walter Reed at 3:55 p.m., according to the official White House schedule, and leave at 4:55 p.m.

That means police could temporarily close Rockville Pike between Jones Bridge Road and Cedar Lane between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.:

by Aaron Kraut — April 29, 2015 at 9:10 am 150 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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