Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Bethesda-Chevy Chase voters locked out by Lawton Community Center ballot lockbox

UPDATE: 2:47 PM - The Montgomery County Board of Elections has inspected the dropbox, and determined that the voters had difficulty pushing the ballots through a rainguard on the slot.

Voting is officially underway in Montgomery County. Some voters who have actually received their ballots attempted to place them into the secure Montgomery County Board of Elections lockbox at the Jane Lawton Community Center in Chevy Chase today. They found the lockbox was locked in a way that they could not insert their ballot envelopes. The Montgomery County Board of Elections said it would send out an employee to examine the situation.

Bethesda cemetery advocates to protest at EagleBank in Friendship Heights October 1

Advocates for the desecrated Moses African Cemetery in Bethesda plan to stage a protest at an EagleBank branch at 5480 Wisconsin Avenue in Friendship Heights tomorrow, Thursday, October 1, 2020 at noon. Organizers of the protest say the Bethesda-based bank loaned $21 million to 1784 Holdings for construction of a self-storage building behind the McDonald's on River Road. 

The self-storage project is directly adjacent to the hidden cemetery's property line. Concern has been that burials at cemeteries like this did not always strictly follow property lines. 

An archaeologist hired by the self-storage company has said no remains or funerary objects have been found during excavation of the site. Advocates have disputed that conclusion, citing their own photographic evidence, and have held a series of protests at the construction site. "EagleBank must acknowledge that Black Lives Matter in Life and in Death, and change its policies so that in the future funds are not provided that harm the Black community or support the erasure of Black history," the Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition said in a statement this afternoon.

Bethesda auto theft rampage continues; two more cars stolen

Two more vehicles were stolen in the Bradley Boulevard corridor of Bethesda between Monday night and Tuesday morning. The auto theft spree that has targeted areas of Bethesda over the summer is growing into a rampage as fall begins, and this very serious situation has evaded the attention of Montgomery County officials and the local media. Clearly a well-organized operation, the thieves have so far been able to target and obtain vehicles at will, primarily in the Bradley and Massachusetts Avenue corridors of Bethesda.

One vehicle was taken from the driveway of a home in the 6400 block of Orchid Drive, just north of Walt Whitman High School. The second was taken from a driveway only about four blocks away, in the 7800 block of Westfield Drive.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Dolcezza to close at Bethesda Row

will close its Bethesda Row shop in October, the gelato chain announced this morning. In fact, the company will close all of its stores except for the Hirshhorn, Fairfax and Mosaic District locations. Dolcezza cited the impact of Covid-19 on its business as the reason for the downsizing.

Crumbl Cookies sets opening date at Federal Plaza

Crumbl Cookies
is finally ready to open its first D.C.-area location at Federal Plaza at 12266 Rockville Pike. The store and delivery business will open this Friday, October 2, 2020. Cookie lovers will love the hours, as the store will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 AM to midnight. Additionally, cookies can be delivered from 8:00 AM until 10:00 PM, Monday through Thursday. On the weekend, deliveries will be available from 8:00 AM to midnight. 

Crumbl will offer four limited-time cookie varieties each week, along with their two standard cookies: warm chocolate chip and chilled sugar cookie. Limited-time flavors will include Muddy Buddy, Biscoff Lava, Funfetti, Snickerdoodle, Coconut Lime, Chocolate Caramel, Cranberry Vanilla, Nutella Sea Salt, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Rocky Road, S’Mores, Orange Creamsicle, and more. 

Customers in the store - who will have to wear masks and observe capacity limits due to covid-19 protocols - can watch the cookies being made in the open bakery. “Having our customers see every cookie being made is one of the best experiences of our stores,” Federal Plaza Crumbl location owner Robert Davis said this morning. “Each ingredient is carefully chosen to provide customers with the highest quality cookie on the market.” 

Woman's Club of Chevy Chase mask sale this weekend

The Woman's Club of Chevy Chase is hosting a mask sale this Saturday, October 3, and Sunday, October 4, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the club, located at 7931 Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase. Over 2000 masks, hand-stitched by club members, will be available for sale. 

One mask the club expects to be popular is the Ruth Bader Ginsburg RBG model, which will come in two versions. The RBG masks will be available by pre-order only; order forms will be available at the mask sale.

Pleated, fitted and box-style masks will be sold, in five sizes: toddler, child, and adult S/M/L. Most have adjustable elastic. Spare mask filters will be sold for $1 each. Prices start at $8. Cash, Venmo, credit or checks will be accepted. All sales will support community services and building preservation.

Social distancing and Women's Club of Chevy Chase covid-19 protocols will be in effect for the event. To see a sample gallery of masks, visit the club's website.

Sarah's Handmade Ice Cream sets opening date at Wildwood Shopping Center

Sarah's Handmade Ice Cream
is almost ready to open its newest Bethesda location, at 10219 Old Georgetown Road, in the Wildwood Shopping Center. Now they have an opening date set for Friday, October 9, 2020. You can visit in-person with their covid-19 protocols of masks, gloves, sneeze guards and social distancing capacity limits. Or you can order online with either contactless pickup at the Wildwood Shopping Center (next to Le Pain Quotidien), or have it delivered right to your door, if you are within delivery range.

See their menu here.

Grand opening weekend, October 9-11, will feature several promotions. Every online order of $25 or more will earn you a free 12-flavor sampler box. All orders, in-store and online, will receive a "Buy 1 scoop, get 1 free" coupon that can be used at a later date. And 20 Instagram contest winners (tag @SarahsHandmadeIceCream and use hashtag #SarahsHandmade) will receive free scoops and/or 12-flavor sampler box.

Sarah's Wildwood location is 1100 square feet in size, and will be open 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM Fridays and Saturdays, and 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM Sundays – Thursdays. If you can't wait until October 9, Sarah's existing store is open at 5241 River Road, in the Kenwood Station/Whole Foods shopping center.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Cars stolen in Bradley Boulevard corridor of Bethesda again

Bradley Boulevard area residents continue to feel the burn of a very active car thief or thieves. A vehicle was taken from the driveway of a home in the 8700 block of Fallen Oak Drive in the Hillmead area between Friday night and Saturday morning. Hillmead and Bradmoor residents have been repeatedly victimized by car thieves over the summer.

Sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning, a vehicle parked in the driveway of a home in the 5800 block of Lenox Road was stolen. This is in the Kenwood Park area off of Bradley Boulevard. There has been a string of auto thefts in Bethesda this summer, with the Bradley Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue corridors being two hot spots in particular.

In addition, auto parts were reported stolen from a vehicle parked in a residential parking lot in the 5300 block of Westbard Avenue on Saturday. Lock those car doors!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Hawkers sign lit at Bethesda Row

The Hawkers Asian Street Fare sign is now lighting up at night on Bethesda Lane. So is the yellow accent lighting across the edge of the front canopy. There still isn't an announced opening date, but construction appears largely complete.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Fortune teller moves out on Bethesda Avenue

The psychic reader on Bethesda Avenue has closed up shop. Already cleared out, the space is now available for lease. I predict we may not have seen the last of this psychic, as they tend to relocate from time to time, so stay tuned for any updates on a new location.

GNC closes in Bethesda

has permanently closed its downtown Bethesda store at 4925 Elm Street. The store had last week announced a "moving sale," but could not say where it was moving to. Now we know why. 

Despite the parent company's financial troubles, this store was never listed on GNC's public store closure rolls. Perhaps it was simply a victim of the moribund Montgomery County economy.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Marriott office building to top out in November, development partners say

Developers of the Marriott International headquarters and hotel report that the HQ office building will top out in November.  The hotel building has already topped out. Trenches are being dug along the street for telecommunications and signal duct banks that will be installed underground this fall.

They anticipate digging 50 feet of trench per day. On recent evenings, they have been working around the Tastee Diner, which remains open during construction. Marriott is relocating its existing Bethesda HQ near Montgomery Mall to this location at 7750 Wisconsin Avenue.

Excavating Exxon in Bethesda

The Exxon station at 8240 Wisconsin Avenue has now been unable to sell gasoline for a full week. First the gas pumps were removed. Now a larger excavation has taken place on the property. It appears the underground fuel tank, as expected, is being replaced. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Steak-n-Egg redevelopment update (Photos)

The redevelopment of the Steak-n-Egg restaurant property at 4700 Wisconsin Avenue NW in Tenleytown is more modest than what I recall being proposed years ago. Next to the legendary diner is a new apartment building in the late stages of construction. There are only four units being marketed. The restaurant is still operating, but plans posted at the site show it eventually being on the ground level of the new building.

Bethesda Vapor Company to change hours next week

Bethesda Vapor Company
, the smoke shop and vaping retailer at 4823-B Fairmont Avenue, will update its business hours next week. The new hours will be Monday-Saturday Noon-6:00 PM, and will go into effect on Monday, September 28, 2020. BVC will not be open Sundays under the new hours.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Bethesda building going gray (Photos)

The curved building currently home to Hardwood Artisans at 4828 St. Elmo Avenue in downtown Bethesda is going gray. Painters applied a darker shade to the exterior Tuesday. It does mesh with the nearby Landow Building with this color.

I remember this building best as Johnny Rockets in the 1990s. Great burgers and milkshakes, decent chili fries (with the chili actually being quite good). It is now possible for have nostalgia for a nostalgia-themed business. Who knew?

Tuesday Accessories now open at Montgomery Mall

Tuesday Accessories
has opened a kiosk at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. The business specializes in handmade jewelry and accessories. With all of the craziness of the pandemic and election, it's hard to believe that Christmas shopping season is almost upon us, and one-of-a-kind handmade items make for very unique gifts. Tuesday Accessories is located on Level 1 near Michael Kors.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Wisconsin Avenue NW lane closures expected through October 19, 2020

Commuters using Wisconsin Avenue should be aware of temporary lane closures between Whitehaven Parkway NW and M Street NW between today and October 19, 2020. The District of Columbia Department of Transportation has given a contractor permission to close lanes as needed for a resurfacing and sidewalk repair project.

The contractor is allowed to work on the sidewalks between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM, and on resurfacing between 7:00 PM and 5:00 AM, Monday-Friday. Street parking on the affected blocks may also be temporarily off-limits at times, as well.

Bethesda construction update: Maizon Bethesda apartments (Photos)

The Maizon Bethesda apartments are now taking on a strong hint of their final appearance at 7500 Arlington Road, It's very striking how close the windows of the apartments on the lower floors are to the traffic passing on Arlington Road. Most apartment buildings countywide have at least a modest setback from the sidewalk. Hopefully the Soviet-apartment-bloc vibe created by the block-length massing will be tempered by the final facade treatments. Maizon is developed by ZOM Living, and is scheduled for delivery in 2021.