Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Invisalign to open store at Westfield Montgomery Mall, Spice 6 "coming soon" signage goes up

A new option for current and potential Invisalign patients is coming to Bethesda. Whereas the the clear alternative to traditional braces is usually acquired through an orthodontic office or cosmetic dentistry office, you'll soon be able to go right to the source at Westfield Montgomery Mall. Invisalign is opening its own store on Level 2 of the mall.

In other mall news, remember Spice 6? They have posted "coming soon" signage at their future spot.

Hogan warns of "treacherous" conditions in springtime snowstorm

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued an urgent bulletin from Reisterstown warning Marylanders of "treacherous" conditions on roadways during today's springtime snowstorm. The snow is capping off an unusually-chilly March.

“Snow, sleet, and freezing rain falling this evening and overnight could make road conditions treacherous throughout the state. I strongly urge all Marylanders to use common sense, take extreme caution, and avoid travel if possible,” Hogan said. “Keep a close eye on your local weather forecast, and check on family, friends, and neighbors and make sure they are safe throughout this late-season storm.”

Hogan recommended that those who must travel contact friends and family, and let them know where you are going, and when you expect to arrive there. He suggested being cautious when shoveling this heavy, wet snow, and to take frequent breaks to avoid overexertion. Hogan added that it is important to stay hydrated when shoveling outdoors.

The governor suggested stocking your vehicle with "car chargers," and kitty litter or sand, which he said would supply traction to spinning wheels. Hogan also advised residents to keep gadgets charged, and warned residents to never use generators indoors. He cautioned everyone to be prepared for power outages.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Frida Beer Garden now open in Bethesda (Photos)

Frida Beer Garden, which is attached to the new TacoArepa restaurant at 4905 Fairmont Avenue, opened over the weekend. Although I mentioned this in my St. Patrick's Day specials report, I wanted to post some photos of the beer garden space now that it is complete.

New parking added for Home Depot in Bethesda (Photos)

Is it possible to imagine a scenario where parking somewhere in Bethesda actually gets better? It just happened at Home Depot at 7111 Westlake Terrace. Workers have finished demolishing part of the Home Depot Square strip mall there, and have laid down some new asphalt and painted on some parking spaces. The new parking area stands out with the fresh black asphalt color.

Monday, March 19, 2018

bluemercury opens at Pike & Rose, Nando's Peri-Peri touts impending arrival (Photos)

Beauty boutique bluemercury has opened its newest location, at 11885 Grand Park Avenue, at the Pike & Rose development. The store is located in the ground floor of the new Canopy by Hilton hotel and 930 Rose condos.

Meanwhile, in a neighboring space, hot chicken purveyor Nando's Peri-Peri has posted "coming soon" signage.

Supersized St. Elmo Apts. will be an "iconic" fixture on Bethesda's skyline, developer predicts (Photos)

Here we go again with the St. Elmo Apartments project, which will be located west of the Bainbridge Bethesda apartment tower on both St. Elmo and Fairmont Avenues. It was nearly four years ago that developer Lenkin Companies first unveiled a plan to redevelop this site, currently home to Chef Tony's, Vuk, and office space that includes the Lenkin headquarters. But Lenkin is now preparing to unveil another updated vision for the project.

To Lenkin's credit, I have to first point out that the company has produced perhaps the most comprehensive package of renderings I've seen for a project prior to submission. They show the tower from almost every conceivable angle, and in color. Furthermore, they provided something citizens have often asked for, but which developers have been loath to furnish - an actual 3-D model that also shows the context of the final building.

The project will add 20 more feet of width to the "promenade" plaza already constructed outside of the Bainbridge next door. A plan for an iconic clock at ground level has been upgraded to a sculpture by renowned artist Jaume Plensa called "Overflow V," which Lenkin suggests will draw passersby into the space by "creating intrigue." The transparent nature of the 7-foot sculpture will add to the sense of openness of the promenade space, they say.
"Overflow V" by
Jaume Plensa in a decidedly
more natural setting
Lenkin promises an "iconic" top to the building that will draw interest from those viewing it below, and from distant points. A central 21-story mass will articulate into step-backs starting on the third floor. From the Old Georgetown Road-facing side of the tower, two wings will project out from the central 225' tall mass. The St. Elmo wing will also be 21 stories, but the Fairmont side will be just 20 stories; the difference is to relate to the respective width of each road below. Each wing will have six step-backs as it rises toward the top level. The uppermost four floors will be "significantly-sculpted."

The wing design will also create a 2nd-floor courtyard. Architects attempted to make each facade relate to the massing and height context of the adjacent buildings on each street.

A public meeting on the project has been scheduled for April 4, 2018 at 7:00 PM at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, located at 4805 Edgemoor Lane.

The County Council appoints the Planning Board:

Bethesda woman missing

Montgomery County police are seeking the public's help in locating a young woman missing in Bethesda. Andrea Jafari, 21, of Ashburton Lane, was last seen yesterday (Sunday, March 18), around 3:00 p.m., when she left home in her vehicle. Her family has been unable to reach her since.

Jafari is described by police as a white female, approximately 5’ 05” tall, and weighing around 135 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes.

Jafari’s vehicle is a gray, 2015 Mercedes-Benz mid-size SUV with Maryland tags: 3CJ9760. Police say they, and her family, are concerned for her physical and emotional welfare.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Andrea Jafari and/or her vehicle is asked to call the Montgomery County Police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000 (available 24 hours).

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Lisa Vogel Agency opens in downtown Bethesda

Stevenson, Maryland-based The Lisa Vogel Agency has just expanded to downtown Bethesda. The agency offers in-home care services designed to allow people who might otherwise be forced into nursing homes a chance to stay in their own homes.

Vogel, a graduate of Loyola University Maryland, recalled the lonely faces and uneven quality of care she witnessed when visiting her own grandparents in nursing homes as a child. The memories inspired her to launch an in-home care service in the Baltimore area in 2008. Now, a decade later, the agency's services are available in Bethesda on Cordell Avenue.

Westbard plaintiffs will appeal judge's decision in lawsuit

Plaintiffs in the legal battle over the 2016 Westbard sector plan have decided to appeal a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge's decision against them last week. Despite the County Planning Board's failure to measure the greenhouse gas and carbon emission impacts of the plan, Judge Richard Jordan claimed that somehow the commissioners were magically above the law, and did not actually have to.
The County Council appoints the Planning Board
Click here to join the fight for
responsible planning in Montgomery County
Out of the three claims dismissed by Jordan, that interpretation appears to be the weakest point in his ruling, one factor among several that encouraged plaintiffs to seek another opinion. Many community members also share that view. “The law’s mandate is clear,” former President of the Sumner Citizens Association Sid Clemans said. “The Board must evaluate the plan’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions, and consider ways to limit emissions and reduce vehicle miles traveled. It’s not a discretionary analysis,” Clemans said.
"...we couldn't claim the
greenhouse gas and carbon-spewing
Westbard sector plan will improve
the environment!" #Oops
In fact, the other recent sector plans passed by the Council - including the Bethesda Downtown Plan, White Flint 2 Plan, and Grosvenor-Strathmore Plan - all included the mandated greenhouse gas and carbon assessment. By virtue of being located at Metro stops, the environmental impact of those plans could be made to appear lower, with the assumption that transit use would be heavier. Not so at Westbard, which is a whopping 2.2 and 3.3 miles from the two closest Metro stations. With the Westbard sector plan therefore fueling a thousands-fold increase in auto emissions, it's no wonder the developer-friendly Planning Board would not want the greenhouse gas and carbon impact numbers to become public.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Lost shoe shuts down escalator at Westfield Montgomery Mall

A woman's shoe somehow became lodged in the Up escalator by Sears at Westfield Montgomery Mall yesterday. The shoe-snatching escalator was temporarily shut down as a result. A good reminder to always "watch your step." With apologies to this escalator, I'm afraid Metro has the inoperable-escalator market cornered in Montgomery County.

Runway closes for renovations at Bethesda Row

Runway, the apparel boutique at 7125 Bethesda Lane, has temporarily closed for renovations. Friday evening found the store's windows papered over. The shop will reopen on March 26. Runway is part of entrepreneur and investor Marcus Lemonis' growing empire of fashion retail stores.

St. Patrick's Day specials in Bethesda 2018

Be a leprechaun in the 'hood today with these St. Patrick's Day specials in Bethesda. Just don't let the greedy and corrupt Montgomery County Council steal your gold!

Brickside Food & Drink

Guinness and Killian's drafts, all bombs, Jameson, Tullamore Dew, and Fireball are $5 all weekend. They even have a special menu today and tomorrow featuring items like the Irish Car Bomb Burger topped with Guinness onion rings, a fried egg, Bailey's braised bacon, and Jameson BBQ sauce.

4866 Cordell Avenue

The Barking Dog

Live Irish music, Irish food, green beer and drink specials all night. Opens at 11:00 AM this morning.

4723 Elm Street

Flanagan's Harp & Fiddle

Where better to go than a real Irish pub? $4 Killian's drafts, $5 Miller Lite bottles, $7 20 oz. Guinness, Irish dancers, live Irish music, including the popular 19th Street Band.

4844 Cordell Avenue

Frida Beer Garden

Bethesda's newest place to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  Enjoy tacos, arepas, tostadas and bowls with a Caribbean cocktail or beer while playing cornhole or Nerf Basketball under the heaters. All Maryland draft beers will be $2 off all weekend. As a bonus, half of the proceeds this month go to Acción Humanitaria for Venezuela, providing humanitarian relief in Venezuela.

4905 Fairmont Avenue
(outside of TacoArepa)


TAPP'D is hosting a Shamrock & Roll Party all day long, with a free Irish breakfast (9-11 AM), $1/$2/$3 Guinness, $2 Jameson shots, DJs and entertainment, and the all-important Jameson Girls.

4915 St. Elmo Avenue

Caddies on Cordell

It's St. Caddies Day, with DJ Sway and DJ KayJay, $5 Jameson shots, $6 Guinness, $6 car bombs, $6 Fireball, and $12 non-premium pitchers. As a bonus, Caddies will be hosting a Boozy Brunch Party tomorrow, Sunday, March 18, from 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM, with a half-price brunch menu and $15 bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys and Screwdrivers.

4922 Cordell Avenue

Friday, March 16, 2018

Mismanaged Montgomery County finances end up in the red again with $200,000,000 budget shortfall

Regular readers of this website know that Montgomery County government is stuck in a structural budget deficit as far out as the projections go. So those folks won't be surprised at all to find out that their incompetent and spendthrift County Council managed to yet again spend more than they took in - way more. The budget shortfall heading into the FY-2019 budget process is a whopping $200,000,000.

County Executive Ike Leggett released his proposed budget yesterday, and it includes not a dime of tax relief for residents now paying the highest taxes in County history. No property tax cut, no energy tax cut - not even a rain tax cut! Property taxes will increase automatically; unless the County Council changes Leggett's proposed tax rate, you will be guaranteed to have a higher property tax bill.

Happy Tax Paying from Montgomery County!


M&T Bank on Norfolk Ave. to close in June

Could Montgomery County's moribund economy be putting a damper on the explosive growth of banks in downtown Bethesda? This morning brings the second bank branch closure announcement in as many weeks. M&T Bank's prominent corner location at 7920 Norfolk Avenue will close on Wednesday, June 6, 2018. If you're a customer here, their closest nearby branch is at 4800 Hampden Lane.

Final hours of the Old Georgetown Rd. Safeway in Bethesda (Photos)

Location removed from
Safeway website

The Safeway store at 7625 Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda that is scheduled to close this month appeared to be in its final hours last night. Although it was open, a sign standing near the door said, "Your closest store is now 5000 Bradley Boulevard," a message you would ordinarily see once a business had closed. The Safeway website no longer lists the store as of this morning, suggesting it has officially closed - or that they don't want the average potential customer to go to this location.